I live in New Jersey, just outside Philly, with my husband, Seth, my seven year old daughter, Samara, three year old son, Felix and our black cat, Potato Chip. In addition to writing and teaching college English, much of my time is spent gardening, sewing, and making and selling herbal remedies via my little online store, Tigers Eye Botanicals. My publications include a chapbook, Reading Darwin, published by Poets Corner Press, and a full length collection, Ditching, is forthcoming via Aldrich Press.
I like a plantation in a pure soil, that is, where people are not displanted to plant others in.
-Sir Francis Bacon, “Of Plantations”
Sunday we attacked
our savage square
of suburban backyard,
tilling the periphery to sow in
herbs & flowers whose bright
faces & fragrances we know
as well as their names.
It was hard work, not at all
what I expected, not at all
bucolic, not like
combing sand in some
shrink’s mini zen garden.
This was war
and our opponents were the things
that had been growing there
all this time, green, gangly things
with roots as long as my arm, I noticed,
when I squatted down to rip them out.
No name for them, why not call them
weeds (though they were not all
the same color or shape, certainly not all
from the same seed). They were
everywhere, growing without our noticing
or our permission & hearty & hale,
they didn’t want to leave.
We might have gone on like this
forever, our hands, each only two, pitted
against their spindly knots of roots,
fists not so much fighting as clenching,
bunkering down in the dirt
they’d always thought of
as theirs (didn’t they know
we held the title?). Thankfully,
in the end, there was a mini-tiller for rent
at the big box store so it only took
a minute. We didn’t have to get
Later, after we cleaned up
the carcasses we’d strewn
everywhere, we were already laughing
about how these things we tilled out
to sow our garden in put up a good fight,
how they made our bodies hurt, how
positively, sincerely thankful we were
for how well they kept the dirt—
so worm-rich, so fertile till we got there
to take it as our own.
"Tilling" first appeared in Room.
©2016 Katie Delany
©2016 Katie Delany
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