Nancy: Every year, the catalogues come earlier and earlier. Already the mailbox is filled with catalogues: luscious vegetables, unbelievable flowers. I’m a sucker: I fall for it every time. And every time, the garden is so glorious, it’s so easy to do it again.
Year To Year
Winter’s barely begun when the catalogs
deliver their dreams of perfect leaves,
their fantasies of round red ripeness.
Ha, I scoff, where are the hares,
the hares and the slugs and the cabbage worms?
But why not? Why not check the EZ Pick
beans, and the Bull’s Blood Beets?
What’s August for, if not the silky ears
of corn, the tomatoes, the zucchini
crying eat me, eat me?
How mean of me, to think that
I’ll begrudge the hare a taste of beans.
Check beans check peas check broccoli,
sing hey for tendril, twine and ramble.
And yes, it does come to pass.
The hares eat the beans, but
there are still too many. Tomatoes escape
their cages, peas hide and we seek,
and we eat and we eat and we eat.
Hidden from us, garlic swells, carrots fatten.
We pick the last corn. Roll the pumpkins
into heaps. Shell out beans.
Take the spading fork and tumble potatoes,
large, small, laughable, miraculous,
what jewels, what wealth, what a year.
Soon, too soon, comes cold, comes snow,
comes catalogs. Where are the hares,
I grumble. Oh . . . Oh, look . . .
An earlier corn? A more perfect tomato?
And it comes to pass: I do it all over again.
Alan: I search along the edge of the bay for clues as to what the new year might bring. Every time I return empty-handed. The answer is out there, unreadable.
The tide today
does not flow in
so much as lift,
like a cloudy table
on silent, hydraulic legs,
filling each nuance
of the scooped,
filling the marsh,
filling the mouths
of the small, still streams.
More solid, it seems,
than liquid: ice patches
scabbing the surface,
a substance one could fall into
or fly over, with one's eyes,
as if over Arctic seas
in a small plane, endlessly,
just above the surface.
almost as ice
with a sound like someone
shuffling crisp cards
in a nearby, hidden dimension,
and preparing to deal
the hands we will soon
be required to pick up,
study, and, with our careful faces,
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