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Cheryl Gunness


Cheryl GunnessProduce Garden, July

Withered the salad days,
grown bitter the bite.
Hardened those slender, secret slips
the tendrils, bright capillaries of light
that wound their way, all gesture
all grace, enchanting me
the narrow, hand-rolled hem
of linen pajamas
wicking up the dew
of June.
The asparagus stretched alluringly.
The lettuces fluttered and ruffled.
A brief breeze revealed
the coy strawberries;
they yielded themselves
in time
for a champagne

It was a trap.
Now I am ensnared, besmeared
my gloved hand
my hoe
wholly engaged in hacking
resisting the spectacle
of these lusty plants, this ecstasy this
profusion. The bee
menaces. The corn
snorts. The berry
this perfect raspberry
bares serrated incisors.
I am parched and
in this noon glare
these weeds they will not yield.
The roots, sinister, they creep.
The tomatoes taunt
their cages. The reckless vines
will not be contained. They
blaspheme the idea of rows
of pews they need
a sterner catechist,

she of the stout bosom, the calico shoulder
the pioneer thigh--
she who will
preserve this garden,
process, isolate
suspend the specimens
in the science of the wide mouth
Mason Jar, the liquid measures
a promise a reminder a warning
a civilized meal, one
I am now too consumed
to eat.