Leeks, by Richard Spilman

We planted the seeds in the spring

and up they came innocuous as crabgrass.

The tomatoes soon lorded over them,

and even the jalapenos, sad lumps

hanging from their limbs like mittens

from children playing in the snow.

They stayed that way all summer,

and before the frosts of November

we pulled them up, declaring failure,

and used them as scallions in salads.

Winter white covered the clay soil,

like layers of dust in an unused room.

Till spring bullied us into wakefulness:

Thunder and lightning and the grey rain

that heartens depressives with reasons

for misery, then out of the sodden ground,

tiny blades twisting in the wound

of the old season. It was shocking:

Nothing worse than discarded hopes

butting in when you have given up,

thrusting faith into comfortable loss,

demanding your heart again because

this time they’ve made a proper start,

this time they will rise in triumph.

Taken from the book “In the Night Speaking” by Richard Spilman

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