I will set
up a table near the window,
run heat tape, fill a mister, lay the rows
of seed flats fluffed with peat, then
with the packets, their panels full
optimists of color, the vegetation plump
with the science of test gardens—
thick as movie star limbs,
peas lining casings like regiments of pearls,
a tomato the potent heft of a uterus.
predict a bounty.
But now, there’s enough snow to bed the plots,
to moisten and turn them soft,
to lay the
summer’s dust back down.
This is a job I do despite the fact
that it demands I kill half or more
I sow. This is a job
of beating blight, weeding the weak, making
the young endure drought to grow strong.
It is violence
and preference up close
in sun by the window, where in the ample light
we know it all. Perhaps I overstate—
sow, dig, and pluck, break
earth and see how you sweat
with toil, are soiled with intent.