by Maxine Kumin

Page 7

Well, I think we need something light after that. This is called "A New England Gardener Gets Personal."

curls. Laughs at cold rain.
leaf-snapping hail.
Under snow, stays green.
Comes crisp as a handclap
to the bowl,
then lies meekly down
with lettuces and cole.

after years of no-peppers
a glut of them
perfect as Peter Piper's.
Only piccalilli
will get shut of them.
None grow riper
none redden in this clime
but such sublime
pectorals! Such green hips!
No Greek torso could be
more nobly equipped.

What ails you, cherry tomato?
Why do you blossom and never bear?
Is it acid rain you're prey to
or nicotine in the air?
Are you determinate or not,
wanting trellises,
strings to cling to from the pot?
What evil spell is this?

Apple on a stalk
grows fronds in its ears.
Stands stiff as a bobby
when the Queen appears.
Quoth she: my dears,
eat this pale knob when small
or not at all.

Winters, like money in the bank,
that dull gargantuan, the swede,
yellow, thick, and faintly rank,
is eaten by cattle and people in need.

wants company in bed.
to be held on either side
by purslane, chickweed
and coarser grasses.
Meanwhile puts down deep alone
its secret orange cone.

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