Garlic Redux

Spring, again. Musty scent of earth anchors us in the south garden, where we find what we thought lost. Hardneck garlic—once mail-ordered bulbs that arrived two weeks late—yellowed wisps of nothing planted last summer with an outside chance of being a blessing rather than a curse. And, without our knowing, something quickened in late winter mud, something we had forgotten was possible, began to emerge after a spell: Allium sativum—so many green blades rising willful and brash, holding their ground in uneven rows, making us ready for another season.

*

It will be a battle, as it always is: weeds versus bare hands. Pinch the weed, save the garlic. Overnight, slender scapes appear, stacked close, like so many unattended musical staffs, waiting for good measure.

*

Three birds sing in a pine tree. July’s sun ascends with its heat. This garden sinks in the middle of nowhere. Everything at a standstill—a slight breeze is a false alarm. Looking up, the dome of sky is the color of dust. The tedium of our occupation wants to imagine something real in summer’s blindness; even the grass beneath the washtub has gone yellow.

*

Rain arrives before dawn. A gentle, soaking rain, with its slow-rumbling thunder, lingers over our postage stamp farm for hours. We can hardly believe it. This geometry of weather, that curries favor just in time, makes us think twice about what is impossible to prove.

*

This is what we hoped for.

M. J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Writers Rising Up’s 2015 Digging to the Roots Poetry Anthology Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific, Snow Jewel, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press’s Where I Live anthology, Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries (Ireland), The Lake (UK), Punchnel’s, Camroc Press Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry JournalPostcard Poems and Prose, and Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton), edited by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney, among others. She is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College.

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