In Your Garden
by Holly Lu Conant Rees
The field is laid in aisles of green and brown,
lines straighter than nature planned,
but still bending through the slow waves of earth.
You on your knees,
tapped silver seed into the black living dirt,
culling stones, dim glass, cracked shards of bone.
In your hands, the vivid soil shows its fabric,
its history of roots and flood and rot.
Even in drought,
the earth sifting through your fingers
is smooth as oil, smelling of wood and breath.
The first furls of green slip through,
their skin fragile and warm, narrow as hair,
the stems bear up bits of leaf, in plain shapes
which later will split and harbor spines.
Here are all degrees of green:
lichen, lime, pine and turtle,
in unlikely blend with purple at a plant's base,
so that nothing green passes beneath the surface.
Bolder and more rapid, weeds crowd in,
colonies organized for growth alone, untroubled by color or fruit
lamb's quarter, poke, chicory: all sometimes food,
but in your garden, poachers.
You grasp each by its hollow stalk and extract a knot of roots,
dirt shaking back down on the thin beaks of onion,
frail fringe of carrot, lettuce's puckery leaf.
You, on your knees, permit the slow,
patient rise of food from the rude rumpus of grass and vine,
till the leaf broadens, till the fruit takes color, till the root fattens.
What will nourish must be tended.