Garden Early, Late
by John P. Kristofco

In May the warm breeze breathes across our winter skin;
we gather seeds in packs, peat moss and vermiculite,
black soil boiled from the soul of autumn leaves
barrowed into perfect lines of parallel,
sentences not conversations
tended every day in the unencumbered hope of spring,
the covenant of life.

But by July we've somehow drifted,
and weeds, persistent as the clock,
blur lines and rows, taking hold like stupor climbs our soul,
and bedders bend to hear the babble, rabble that embrace their prize
to take them in the tango of the dancing sun.
We labor in our heat and sweat, satisfied to pull but stems and leaves,
and leave behind the roots
remaining like the soul of doubt to churn within the burning earth.

And in September's longer shadows, lines are gone to maze
of gray, brown, faded green:
bleached tomatoes split beneath the sun
in the chaos of the field claiming birthright,
silent riot, reclamation,
and we hear the hum of acquiescence,
surrender to the coming of the fall.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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