Poetry & Prose

Vegetable Research Farm #3

Bent over, I fingered each tray thirty-eight times
my foreign feet in crumpled boots,
I rolled sleeping Swiss chard between my thumb and forefinger.

I buried hundreds that day in plastic beds,
mixed the dirt myself and wrote wooded tombstones:
“Here lies Green Magic”
or “Earlichamp”
or “Goldie”
or “Rouge D’Hiver.”
Now, I have never met a plant breeder,
but I had imagined them to be monotonous people.
Not so; they name their offspring after homes and history.

Soon, the patient living stirred beneath signposts;
Black Seeded Simpson and Jericho crawled out of the calderas.
Kogane next to husk cherries, resting on clayton blocks.

Bruised fruit is baled like bauxite and heaved like ground glass,
tilled until immutable and awash with shelled rice and clover.
It lives, it vanishes on the worn wood of our Louisville Slugger,
bursting into zucchini flechette.

I came to realize that I prefer rutabaga baseball
to slow wading through thistle in the outfields.
The moment of inertia is heavy and so great.

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