Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Outside it’s a blizzard,
Inside, I plant seeds
for six heads of lettuce.
I plant cherry tomatoes, yellow,
and tiny seeds of basil.
I plug in the grow lights,
add water, wait.
I’m well aware
how much growth can happen
in the most unfavorable seasons,
how sometimes when the world
feels cruel, we might yet be met
with light, warmth, care.

It brings me real joy
to plant these seeds today
while outside the wind
and snow and cold
do their wintery work.
In a week, there will be sprouts.
In a month, there will be greens.
Though they will be bitter,
they’ll be tender.
I will savor them.
I will share.

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While I did not fix
the thing I most
wish to fix, and I
did not do
the most important
thing on my list,
and I did not save
anyone, and I did
not solve the world’s
problems, I did
plant the onion sets
in the garden,
pressed my fingers
into the dry earth,
knew myself as
a thin dry start.
Oh patience, good
self. This slow
and quiet growing,
this, too, is
what you are
here to do.

published in ONE ART: A journal of poetry

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The broccoli was a disappointment this year—

planted from seed, it had finally begun to sport

small knobby green heads when the frost came.

And though the broccoli didn’t die, it stalled.

Perhaps I fear I am like this broccoli—destined

to grow but never to fruit. Perhaps this is why

I feel such urgency, this need to write faster,

heal quicker, mature sooner, love more. Because

what if the freeze comes? What if I die before

doing what I have come here to do?


There is a part of me who is patient. A part of me

who says, Sweet One, you could not possibly be

any more you than you are right now. She tells me,

You are exactly enough. And sometimes I believe her.

But sometimes I roll my eyes at her and tell myself,

Hurry up, hurry up. I know myself as barren stalk.

I try to will my own ripening. Not once has it worked,

not once, and still this strange drive:

go faster, do it better, do it now.

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At midday, I dug beneath damp straw

and gently ran my fingers through dirt,

and, there, in the kingdom of earth worms,

found dozens of beautiful ruby-skinned potatoes,

each one of them precious in my hands.


God knows I have longed to be found this way—

pulled out from my darkness and cradled,

held up to the light with an oooh and an ahh

and a laugh of joy, though I’m slightly misshapen,

though I’m bumpy and imperfect.


There are days when I see through it so easily,

the longing to be loved, and I simply feel the love

that always exists, the love that grows in darkness,

that is utterly unconcerned with worthiness,

that feels no need for discovery.


There are moments when I can’t imagine

I ever thought I was lost, like today,

kneeling in the dirt, marveling at the beauty

of potatoes, mud-smudged and lumpy,

knowing myself as another who belongs to the earth.

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Letting It Be



There is a carpenter in me

with an impressive tool belt.

She thinks she can fix everything.


Every time there’s a leak in the ducts,

she blames that darn condensation,

and whips out her metallic tape.


And when there’s a heart break,

she mumbles something about not meeting code,

then takes note of all the cracks,


all the places where it’s falling apart,

and gets to work: cleans up and preps

new concrete to hold things together.


I know she’s doing what she knows best,

I know she has good intentions.

But today, while she runs off to seek


just the right hammer, just the right nails,

I take those leaky ducts and that broken heart

into the garden and dig potatoes.


The soil is cool and slips soft

though my fingers as I sift for yellow fingerlings

and red-skinned Desirees.


There is a gardener in me who doesn’t try

to fix anything. She says in a quiet southern drawl,

Sweet thing, bring all that brokenness here


and let it walk amongst the sunflowers.

Let it weed the carrots and pick

some calendula bouquets. And nothing


gets fixed, but something shifts as I sit

beside unruly mint, its green spears rampant,

its scent so cooling, so sweet.



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Push again the small dried peas

one inch into the earth. The gaps

in the rows where they did not grow,

do not take these personally.

Not everything comes to fruition,

but that is no reason to stop planting.

In fact there is every reason to believe

that not so long from now

the sweet green song of fresh sweet peas

will serenade your impatient tongue

if only your hands keep doing their work.

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I snip off dead flowers

to trick the pansy

into blooming again


wonder which

of my past


to cut

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After the frost,

the sweet peas

rise from the dirt

like little green angels

with bowed heads

and tiny green wings—


it’s enough to make

a woman believe

small miracles can happen

if only she plants

the seed.

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in the sunflower bed,

a volunteer potato—

letting it grow right there



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Digging there in the dirt

with small seeds

in your hands

you hear the wind

high in the cottonwoods,

you hear the silence

sown inside the wind,

and the quieter

you are, you hear

perhaps, within you

a call like the geese

that aren’t flying

overhead, a startling

call, an almost

strangled sound

that, if you heard it,

might almost

wake you up.

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