Ellen Nielsen Ormand Beach
We used to grow them every year. They began
as flat seeds, smaller than a baby’s fingernail.
After they sprouted, the clasped hands
of their first leaves were held together
by their split seed coats. Then their green fingers
began to spread. Their stems grew hairs
as they pushed toward the light.
We tapped their root balls out of their pots
and planted them deep into moist black soil
laced with compost and goat manure.
We watered them every day and covered them
on cold nights. They blossomed
spinning out sprays of yellow spiders.
They sprawled in the sun.
Their juice exploded in our mouths.
we thought we’d never get tired of them.
When it rained for three days, skins cracked
lower leaves shriveled, brown and papery.
One diamond night, wind blew from the north.
In the morning, frozen stalks, jade marbles scattered
on the ground, fruit that would never ripen.