Ah, that first year – when we still imagined
our sustenance – those first kennebecs,
huge in the manure field, papered like birch,
soft as creamed cheese.
Dave’s mom planted there, but she was dead.
He asked only a smidge of harvest
for the plot, new turned from black
and hereford compacted absence.
And maybe he tasted his mother’s apron.
Maybe he tasted his mother’s long shadow,
as he was a boy once and prone to grazing.
And maybe she wielded a spoon.
Maybe she ran lunch out to fields in Autumn,
and coaxed failure from his father’s tongue
and offered stew with beef and beans – cabbage –
slept in a gruel wind – no fan, no comfort
but crust-eye love, square shouldered
Don’t really know – but the brown paper bags
we left on his porch were all taken in –
the cukes, the kennebecs, the zucchinis,
long, young and slim as fingers, tomatoes
plump as a mother’s heart – all taken
in that first year of our sustenance.