Arriving lost

David McAleavey

you work in the garden, you work hard all spring, come
summer you start harvesting. what do you harvest? you
harvest spices tasting like foam, indigestible peppers
with pearly husks, banana-shaped tomatoes filled with

one big seed. there is no one to turn to for help.
the plants in the garden have done all they can, executing
perfectly commands it seems you must have given. dig
into the soil:    is it real?    yes, it is real.    the scraps

of plastic you neglected, letting them stay in the
compost heap, are still there, inhumanly slow at decom-
posing, tho now brown & brittle. is this mutation what
you were raised to fear? under your fingers the grapes

have turned to jade. your skin toughens into parchment.
silence. you hear bones clatter. you wish: castanets.


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