Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ode to garlic

Ode to Garlic

In the harbor of autumn
the husbandman
cloves into the dirt.
They slept
under snow moons.
In spring’s growing sun
they sprouted, and
by July,
he pulled them
from the ground
by their leaf swords
and hung them like
to dry.

Today, he carried
them to me
where I waited
under the maple tree
with empty hands.
A midwife,
I cradled them in my arms —
eggs in a nest,
clams in a tangle of kelp.

Oh, my children!

I felt the leap
inside, as if I myself
had birthed them
from my own canal.
Being from the center
of me, it was my duty to
rub the dirt
from their faces —
fat and cherubic,
their fragile skin
petals falling
to the grass,
my papery hands
weaving braids like a crone.

When death comes,
send me down the river
with garlic — pearls
of life pressed
in the soil of my hands.

— Ruth