No sooner has work begun then it goes wrong–
Cucumbers wither on the stalk.
Warm weather is no augury. The bok
choy’s full of beetles. Failures gnaw our crop.
Clatter of tractors, clatter of cleaning,
money for replanting, spreading traps.
We restring defenses all morning.
Last year’s debt a ditch to dig out of.
Elsewhere famine, elsewhere flood.
A pregnant woman inhaling pesticides.
Migrant Mexican children in blueberry fields.
The uneasy sky in its various weathers.
In the greenhouse, brassicae.
Outside, weather variable.
Sky’s ADD, says Mora as we move
eggplant sprouts from 64s to 32s
shoving root-hairs down, transplanting–
like copying notes out from a notebook,
doing rote-work, piece-work, on for hours—
tomatoes have a better survival rate than poems, I say,
and Mora laughs.
But all this will be consumed so quickly
for all the tending that we do. Today
we move cukes and zukes with funny names—
cash crops for fancy restaurants—
For a moment, we’re in a hopeful time.
Each name holds sugar
we can sell: Snowgold, Zebra, Green Dragon.
In Ephesus the river moved, the city died.
The Tigris dried. The Euphrates died. The Mayans died.
Quick clouds morph as if to warn our slower landscape.
“Weather’s variable,” says Mora.
We’re crawling down the turned rows on all fours
pushing chard into the soil.
base, basic, stewarding, old art of cultus,
tending plot, forging food from earth
trusting ourselves to time & dirt & sprouts—