The Most Human

In the garden, I practice being human—
rearranging the earth into neat rows with labels,
churning the dirt with my bare hands,
pressing each precious seed into fertile soil.

I hover like a new parent when the fragile shoots appear—
building fences for protection,
erecting cages for support.
When it doesn’t rain, I water.
When it’s too hot, I shade.

I keep my garden strictly organic—
that is, I don’t kill with pesticides,
I kill with my own two hands.
Uprooting unwanted weeds,
squashing uninvited insects until they pop.

When the leaves are full and the fruits are heavy,
I harvest as much as my arms can carry.
I scrub and slice, then cook and consume,
and life has never made more sense.

I’m my most human when winter peeks her eyes above the horizon—
frantically constructing cold frames
with carefully sealed covers,
tucking each manicured row into bed
as the sun slips out of sight.

At dawn, I crunch across the frozen fields—
weaving through toppled over cold frames
and stepping over wind-blown covers.
I collapse amongst the neat rows of frostbitten things,
and claw at the frozen earth until my fingers bleed.

Then I weep, for all the things I can’t keep alive.