Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Family Garden

Tell me again about your garden
           Tell me how you planted, in the small
                      flat of mountain land, corn seed

and bean seed, how your finger poked the soil
           then you dropped in three dark bean seeds
                      for every yellow seed of corn.

Trees and mountains collared your land,
           but the fenced garden opened freely
                      to sun and warm summer rains.

Your potato rows bulged in July. You ached
           from digging them up, your hands down in dirt,
                      the cool lump of a tuber, brown-spotted,

just recovered, a greeting, like shaking hands.
           Baskets full of bumpy brown potatoes filled
                      your basement until fall, until you gave

away what you could, throwing out the rest.
           You gave away honey from the white hive too,
                      that box of bees beside the garden,

honey stored in Mason jars, a clearest honey
           nectar from lin tree blossoms and wild flowers.
                      The bright taste of honey on the tongue

spoke of the place, if a place can be known
           by the activity of bees and a flavor in the mouth,
                      if a person can be known by small acts

such as these, such as the way you rocked
           summer evenings from a chair on the porch
                      tending your inner garden, eyes closed.
Hank Hudepohl