My grandmother grew a garden.
My mother gave it up,
and gave up making biscuits each morning
for the ones that came in the can.
I always liked whacking the cardboard
against the counter,
the dough exploding where it split.
My mother’s generation gave the garden up,
shopped for food in cans,
or had it delivered in bulk food plans
that went into the freezer.
And so I never cared much for black eyes
because they weren’t fresh.
The last years of the garden when
they sent us out to weed the peas,
we weeded the carrots instead.
A perennial ignorance began to take root.
The grapevines stayed,
and she continued making jam in summer,
but the strawberries were now
an icey red block that defrosted
into a runny glop.
Shopping became women’s work,
not making things for their family.
It robbed a woman of the pleasure
of putting her hands to her own life.
I’ve tried to make my way back,
though jam making didn’t work
because I don’t eat sugar.
And the few baskets I fashioned
were more by way of benediction
than something I meant to be my path.
But they taught me how it feels
to hold your life in your hands.
Gardening hasn’t come easily either,
I’ve settled for herbs in pots,
though lately I’m thinking
of vegetables in plots.