Posts Tagged ‘planting’

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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is what you say when pressing
the garlic cloves into the soil in early November:
five inches down, sprout side up.
But no matter how well one plants them—
preferably six inches apart so they don’t compete
for sunlight or water or space—
it will still be a long time
before green shoots come up.

It’s the same thing I say to myself
as I sit by my husband and weep,
as I’ve done nearly every day
for over a year since our son died.
No matter how well one grieves—
whether the heart is cracked asphalt
or a lush peony—
it’s going to take a long time.

A long time, perhaps forever.
I tell myself, Go ahead,
cry when you think of how he used to race
to the car when you’d come home.
As if I could stop myself.
I cry because my body says cry.
Because I remember the shape
of his body crushed into mine.

Because sometimes my heart
is more dead bird than wing.
Because some things we simply live into.
Winter will come and freeze the dirt.
Next spring, there will be green shoots.
Late summer, we will pull thick bulbs from the earth.
We will welcome the taste, sharp and strong.

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into the soil

of self




of you.

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Allium Sativum




When everything had died,

but before the ground was frozen,

I planted the garlic in four long rows—


dozens of cloves deep enough

in the earth so the frost

couldn’t push them up and out.


I think of them now as winter

continues to gather the world

in its white embrace.


I think of how, beneath the snow,

they’re preparing to flourish,

to root, to leaf, to grow.


It’s not so different, I think,

from the ways you love me—

how, sometimes, when everything


seems barren, you’ll plant seeds.

And though we see nothing for a long,

long time, there, like cloves beneath the surface,


each seed multiplies into many.

So much of love happens invisibly.

So much of love takes a stretch.


When the cloves ripen, some we will consume.

They will mark us with their strength.

Some, like love, we will plant again.


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for Merry Stoll

wahtola - 02

After I learn that she died,

I go to the garden, grateful

that there are petunias,

cosmos and snapdragons

to plant. Salvia, pansies, and

verbena that will drape its purple

kindness down the sides

of the planter. I don’t

put on my gloves. I let my hands

enter the soil and feel

how good the earth is.

This is how I best remember her,

with a trowel or a scissors in her hand,

ready to transplant, to trim,

to harvest the blooms

into a bouquet for the altar

or table. Flowers hung

in her garage to dry. Flowers

in her bathrooms, her dining room,

her kitchen. It came easy to her,

which stem to place where.

Which color, which ribbon,

which grass, which vase.

She left beauty all over the place.

Once she sat with me

on her green and white couch,

and let me read her poems,

a whole book of them.

We sat there for hours,

and she listened and laughed

at Shel Silverstein’s antics,

and as I read, I felt like a flower,

like something just at the edge

of bloom. Her attention

made me beautiful.

Today, the garden is just starting

to find itself after winter. I cannot help

but weep into the holes I have dug.

It is tender, this moment, and fragile

this life. I feel like making wild pledges—

to honor her legacy—to find

and share beauty everywhere I go.

I feel determined to keep my word.

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before the planting,

the dreaming, laying out seeds

while summer still fits in my hand

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