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A Gardener's Guide to Grief

Line your window boxes with sweet marjoram. 

Their gnarled leaves will ease your grief, 

untangling the pain in your heart like a knot in yarn. 

Basil's licorice scent will give you courage in difficult times. 

Plant papery, pink petals of dianthus in her honor, its thin green leaves 

stretching out like a mother's arms, welcoming you and your tears. 

Let your fingers slip through stalks of rosemary, 

releasing its fragrant oils, an evergreen aroma 

that will fill you with sweet memories. 

Plant monarda along the walkway and follow the path 

of the bees that visit: their gentle hum will guide you past your grief. 

Tuck ranunculus in your breast pocket to always keep her close to your heart.

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About the Author

Shelly Jones (she/they) is a professor at a small college in upstate New York, where she teaches classes in mythology, folklore, and writing. Her speculative work has been published by F&SF, Apex, The Future Fire, and elsewhere. Find them on Twitter @shellyjansen or

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