Saturday, March 22, 2014

Brightly colored packets


b r i g h t l y  c o l o r e d  p a c k e t s

She spreads the brightly colored packets
round the table, and speaks of hope.
I lift a flat paper envelope, with its picture

of a perfect beet, and shake it like a rattle,
"Hey-ya!" She sits across, nodding and smiling,
and hefts a half pound of peas, offering its promise,

like incense, to the gods of our little life.
We've drawn out and made domains of the gardens.
The east one, very small, is on the highest ground,

and drains superbly. It is all hers. She loves
to dig in early spring and late in the fall,
coaxing brassicas, beets, chard, sugar snap peas

to grow in long succession through the year.
The south garden, sheltered from hot winds,
but prone to wetness, is mine. I've raised my beds

high as I can pile them, tossed away stones,
and spread out golden chunks of bales of straw,
redolent of the ducks who've nested on them.

Here tomatoes and sunflowers, limas and vine crops
broil in the sun by day and rest by night.
The north garden, on the only flat, gets sun,

but stays colder longer. It is the largest,
so we share it, and here we fight. I look for
long rows of corn and beans, and always more

tomatoes. She tries new things I can't pronounce,
and seeks the permanence of berries: raspberry
is her favorite thing under the sun, I dunno.

We fight over water, when to use, how much.
We fight over planting depth, shade, what
to harvest when, and how long to blanch beans.

We fight all the way to the bedroom; its north window
opens onto the windswept beds. In plain view
the rustling rainbow windsock

presides there over the rustling corn, and our
fighting turns to sudden loving. We hold
each other's life, like seed, in careworn hands,

and sleep, like seed, until the sun's return.


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