In the Garden of the Universe

By Diane DeCillis

When the physicist said every piece of everyone—everything

you look at, from the thing you hate to that which is most precious,

was assembled by the forces of nature in the first moments

of the universe—it took the artist back to her earliest memory

of being one with the soil.


A packet of wildflowers

spills willy-nilly

hard to decipher the weeds


Imagine what she might have written in her journal—

At night my dandelions evoke the grace of prayer.

They fold up their florets like evening primrose,

having gathered the moon and the scattered stars.


Dearest—wise old confessor

my secrets lie in

your seeded beard unfolding


The physicist said when you die pieces of you will return

to the universe in the endless cycle of death and rebirth.

The artist understood this when she carved Viva la Vida

into the fruit of her last work, a still life of watermelons,

whole and hewn against an open blue sky.


Later her husband, the famed muralist, by coincidence

or affinity, assembled a lush tableau— watermelons,

his final painting—flesh pulsing ripe and crimson,

sown with glossy black seeds.


Inside every seed and leaf

viva la vida

this is where you will find me


Diane DeCillis’ poetry collection, Strings Attached, (Wayne State Univ. Press, 2014), has been honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2015 and is the winner of The 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award for poetry. She is also a finalist for the Forward Indie Fab Book Award for poetry. She’s been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and Best American Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in CALYX, Evansville Review, Nimrod International Journal, Connecticut Review, Gastronomica, Rattle, Slipstream, Southern Indiana Review, William and Mary Review, and numerous other journals.

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