My daughter knows this is the season for starting seeds.
Using a broken pot and a sharp stick,
She scratches crude rows in the dirt beside our sidewalk
Plants cilantro far too deep for it to sprout.
Our home was once a greenhouse,
Our south window a sunny spot for seedlings.
When we arrived the mud was made to make room for us
A coffee table, two handmade chests, and a borrowed mattress.
A church pew sat where our table is now.
The house felt cavernous – far too large for two to fill.
Entire upstairs rooms we’d go weeks without entering
We gradually filled with furniture and unspoken prayers
We sowed sorrow and seeds of our own:
Warming the peppers on top of the refrigerator
Drying herbs on sheets in the spare bedrooms.
Our plants were made to make room for our friends, who came, who went.
Two boys came not long after,
In knocking the robin’s nest out of the maple,
We believe they cursed the tree.
When it died we placed a pot on the stump filled with lavender and sage.
Our children came in fall,
Too late in the season for strawberries - or even squash.
When they left on Palm Sunday the farm had just started transplanting seedlings.
We lived on a farm, but they hardly knew it.
They returned in winter, staying long enough this time to
Witness the magic of crocus, fireflies, and watermelon hearts
Barefoot days spent at the creek,
Evening windows open to the crickets and the breeze
Grow callouses thick enough to run on the gravel drive
Climb hay bales and Acorn Trail
Spot red-winged blackbirds by song, mimic chickadees and owls
Conspire for an anniversary surprise under the stars on Blueberry Hill.
This house used to be a greenhouse,
Shelter for spindly seedlings, protection from the cold
Compost, dirt, consistent care, good light.
Our home for nearly nine seasons, here we grew a family.
It’s the season for starting seeds,
No one’s starting anything,
Except my daughter’s cilantro -
Who will watch it grow?