Grow what your garden will allow, my mémère
used to say, but another summer’s gone
and the chartreuse faces of tomatoes,
plump and unripe, line the kitchen windowsill,
frowning outside at the season’s first frost
like sulking children kept in from the cold.
August found the corn grown to half the size
of a chiding finger before the raccoons
came again for their yearly moonlight feast,
threading their way through naked stakes
to leave stalks splayed across the rows like the spokes
of a broken wheel revealed once the sun rose.
Soil sweetened, hoop houses and fences built,
I’ve grow weary of arguing with this plot,
of sowing far more than I’ve harvested.
And as I stand among the weeds grasping
scant handfuls of leeks and bitter greens,
I see her–Grow what your garden will allow–
the bottom corners of her plain-sewn apron
raised to hold more than her portion of what
the long decades were willing to provide.