My grandmother’s eyes
wander the overgrown garden
while we pick lobsters, crack
knuckles at the kitchen table.
She likes to remind us how
they told my grandfather
he’d never grow corn on the island,
too battered by the sea, too much fog,
but he planted it along with
the usual turnips and rutabagas,
blue potatoes and the magenta flesh
of beets, and he succeeded.
I have never planted corn, and I grow
things haphazardly, more dream than
dedication. I let my daughters run wild
with seed catalogs and always
try to plant too much too close,
letting the pumpkins run over
the chard, the nasturtiums and
violas tangle in the cantaloupe,
pulling the zucchini halfway
through the season because
it shadows everything and
is always more than we can eat.
My southern grandmother now
comforted by the northern maritime
life, where fog and family and friends
are a keeper’s light in the dark.
We’ve both watched
our husbands go gray with death
and felt the sharp absence when
reaching for the other side of the bed,
and I still only trust
the recipes she’s given me
for fish chowder, pickled beets,
and a lost love’s history.
photo credit: Catalin Dragu, Unsplash