Last spring, we planted a garden, tucked tiny tomato
plants into soil, layered them with marigolds
and kale, dropped sliced sunchoke into pockets,
trusting it would become like sunflowers,
and the runner beans could climb their stalks,
made rows of carrots, of onions, of garlic,
beets, even attempted corn knowing our space
was too small and the weather too cool
too long. We let the strawberries send out runners,
kept covering the potatoes when they sent up leaves,
picked rocks that sifted to the surface, a reminder
the earth is always moving, that so many forces
are at work, bugs and worms and roots. We don’t
talk often enough about the power of roots,
which crack sidewalks and twist their way into
water mains, slide through the weak places in
foundations, eek out acids to make their job
easier. But what of the ways we do this too,
the slow destruction of foundations of trust
through lies that build on lies to keep truths
out of the sun, the ways we cross boundaries
we didn’t know existed, or we did and chose
to cross anyway, the way acidic words and feelings
break down love, a little at a time or all at once
until all that’s left are ruins. At harvest, we made
jams, ketchup, pickles, sauces, dehydrated hundreds
of apples, tomatoes, peppers, strung up herbs
to dry, garlic to cure, stocked our pantry
for the future, a little bit of hope, planned out
the garden for spring. We didn’t know
what the winter would hold, how our words
would break down, how our foundation would
crumble, how the house would catch fire,
how easily one of us would put on rose colored
glasses and so fail to recognize another’s
red flags left to dry on the clothes line, how
the other would work the soil alone come spring,
turn up the lies of the first, like the overwintered
sunchokes, abundant and full-bodied.