By virtue that’s inherent—a pursuit
of happiness—he tells me, the garden

is set to grow in thirteen raised beds.

We wait, wanting the best of everything, but
in our own bed, we doubt what we have done.

All night, silence hangs over us, making
us suspicious of our planting.

We relive tensions:

Our pitchforks, sinking into black dirt, lifting
broken clods up and turning them under

what we imagine becomes organic—

young beans next to potatoes, with eyes
turned down—onions set to stand

guard around the lettuce…

What are you thinking, I ask
in the moment, when all he

can hear is the hornworm click.

Ignored, I find new growth, the green
nubs that look like teats—the sweetness

slugs crave on their nightly feed—their appetite
more than thoughtful.

I dread what we are fighting.

It’s slow and dull like the slugs’ ambition—we
can’t get off, get away from, get out of this

pursuit that makes us tired in the morning.

M. J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 29 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: https://mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

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