My Forsaken Garden

I cannot go into my own garden anymore. Each time that I do, he is there, the servant whose job it is to tend the lilies. He is dark and beautiful, and he looks up at me with golden eyes, golden like the sun at the height of day, leaping across the sky with the grace of a gazelle.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. My wife asks me why. My children ask me why. What can I tell them? That he whose job it is to tend the lilies, whose name is like the finest oil, Ovadyah, that he looks up at me from his fragrant plants and smiles. He is a lily, a rose, a lily growing in a valley, a rose among thorns, calling out to me in that garden. And so I avoid him, I wander the hallways of my house, in order to avoid him.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. I was happy once, and now I suffer. I was glad once and now my countenance is dark. At night, upon my couch, alone, I lie awake in agony, thinking of him, of Ovadyah. He is dark, and the curls of his hair are like hands reaching out to me. He has captured my heart. I am his.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. I will post guards around it, to keep me out. I will build a wall around it with no windows, no gateways, and no doors. I will seal him into it and leave him there, for he is dark and beautiful. And I am pale and frightened.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore, without shaking. For I am Ovadyah’s, and he knows it. Each time that I go into my garden, he, my servant, looks up at me with dark eyes, beckoning. And I falter, I stumble on the paving stones, I stumble over words like a boy first studying Torah. And he, a youth, swift as a gazelle, he comes toward me, smiling. “Master,” he says, “Master, come and see the lilies, how full they are, how strong, and tall, so swollen with life, dripping pollen.” And my hands tremble, and I clench my teeth, so as not to say, “O give me, Ovadyah, the kisses of your mouth. For your love is more delightful to me than any of these flowers.”
No, I cannot go into my garden anymore. Or so I tell myself, just before dawn each day, just before I go down to it, step by stone carved step.
by Andrew Ramer
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. Each time that I do, he is there, the servant whose job it is to tend the lilies. He is dark and beautiful, and he looks up at me with golden eyes, golden like the sun at the height of day, leaping across the sky with the grace of a gazelle.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. My wife asks me why. My children ask me why. What can I tell them? That he whose job it is to tend the lilies, whose name is like the finest oil, Ovadyah, that he looks up at me from his fragrant plants and smiles. He is a lily, a rose, a lily growing in a valley, a rose among thorns, calling out to me in that garden. And so I avoid him, I wander the hallways of my house, in order to avoid him.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. I was happy once, and now I suffer. I was glad once and now my countenance is dark. At night, upon my couch, alone, I lie awake in agony, thinking of him, of Ovadyah. He is dark, and the curls of his hair are like hands reaching out to me. He has captured my heart. I am his.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore. I will post guards around it, to keep me out. I will build a wall around it with no windows, no gateways, and no doors. I will seal him into it and leave him there, for he is dark and beautiful. And I am pale and frightened.
I cannot go into my own garden anymore, without shaking. For I am Ovadyah’s, and he knows it. Each time that I go into my garden, he, my servant, looks up at me with dark eyes, beckoning. And I falter, I stumble on the paving stones, I stumble over words like a boy first studying Torah. And he, a youth, swift as a gazelle, he comes toward me, smiling. “Master,” he says, “Master, come and see the lilies, how full they are, how strong, and tall, so swollen with life, dripping pollen.” And my hands tremble, and I clench my teeth, so as not to say, “O give me, Ovadyah, the kisses of your mouth. For your love is more delightful to me than any of these flowers.”
No, I cannot go into my garden anymore. Or so I tell myself, just before dawn each day, just before I go down to it, step by stone carved step.