by Rahana K. Ismail

We climb barefoot to the roof garden. The stairs are still
new, still steep for my cartography. My parents have rooted
through to their farming genes after retirement. We pluck 
from a blush of tomatoes, the red ones, the ripe cucumber. 
My daughter’s hand smoothes into its prickliness as she holds 
it like a planet. A rain of chilies under an umbrella of green-
ness. Lady fingers are purple, we relearn our colors. My father
digging out turmeric as we dig in wild, enthused with shovels 
of our hands. Where it breaks off, a sun of yellow. My mother
passes around baskets. We step around rakes, weed-grown 
grow-bags. The mushroom-room smells of straw and wet heat.
It envelops a silence of someone dreaming. We are inclined to tip-
toe our thoughts. Gravid with sprouting, rows of straw-bags. Hyphae 
spreading wide into generations of growth-webs. We add to baskets, 
oyster mushrooms fanning out in this warmth between our hands.

photo credit: Rachel Horton-Kitchlew, Unsplash