Potato Harvest

Two weeks in a row I have delayed my poem until Thursday, bad! Dog days of summer - my homesteading son has been feeling them too, the potatoes truly helped :)

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Potato Harvest


This poem could be about loss, about a summer
when clouds outlasted their spring welcome,
picnic baskets pined for blankets on lawns,
boats yawned, dull with idyll in docks.
In the first year garden, a harvest of frustrations,
thin soil and fat voles, waterlines blown,
mice discovering seed sprouts are tapas,
a chicken tractor was made of two by fours,
strong enough the birds might survive an Armageddon
but difficult to lift for gathering eggs,
an anemic blueberry yield.

This poem could be about mystery,
as while I lamented the yellowing green beans,
potato runners were thin fingers loosening soil,
blossoms were pollinated by wing and proboscis,
under moon and sunlight,
water hummed through capillaries,
leaves were chlorophyll factories
creating fiber and starch.
I am glad now for the
overcharging plumber fixing leaks
and aphids that freckled the nasturtiums.
Pleased I couldn’t tell you
what happened beyond my son cutting
sprouted potatoes into little cubes,
each with one pimpled eye,
don't know the color or size of the potato plant
and that I missed the dumpling lumps,
didn’t brush off a clump of dirt.

Some poems are about triumph,
such a tumble of it on the kitchen counter
and in boxes on the pantry floor,
potatoes in hues of bruise purple and brick red,
gold, like sunlit plaster on Italian frescos,
tubers otherworldly as meteorites
and yet familiar as stones.
Unearthing them, my homesteading son must have felt how
miners do when they hit a vein of crystal,
or how I cried in wonder when
from that rich rune of pregnancy,
he, now a man who plants things,
emerged from me.