Lobster mitts might cushion the ache,
my hands numbed
by these cold, rain-wet stalks. The stakes
in beds slimed here and there with rot.
Cut twine and a vine collapses,
limp as kelp. Tug upward and a tired length
slips from its dimple of earth
dangling a matted root.
I weeded, watered, pruned
and came to believe
I had claim to a red firmness
slicing so cleanly it would flake
onto my sandwich—I tried
to persevere…But the fruit was
blighted. The stems now lie
in a composting reef—bed of bladder-wrack
more fecund than my summer work.
Soil turns heavily, clods
the chop of a dark sea,
harvest entrails an earthworm’s chum.
My spade clanking against stone
jiggles off mud
more easily than fatigue,
the iron reverberation almost
a knell—or summons
to find moorings and a berth, if not sleep.
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