We planted the seeds in the spring
And up they came innocuous as crabgrass.
The tomatoes soon lorded over them,
And even the jalapenos, sad lumps
Hanging from their limbs like mittens
From children playing in the snow.
They stayed that way all summer,
And before the frosts of November
We pulled them up, declaring failure,
And used them as scallions in salads.
Winter white covered the clay soil,
Like layers of dust in an unused room.
Till spring bullied us into wakefulness:
Thunder and lightning and the gray rain
That heartens depressives with reasons
For misery, then out of the sodden ground,
Tiny blades twisting in the wound
Of the old season. It was shocking:
Nothing worse than discarded hopes
Butting in when you have given up,
Thrusting faith into comfortable loss,
Demanding your heart again because
This time they’ve made a proper start,
This time they will rise in triumph.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.