'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

Why I Killed the Rhubarb

        Why I Killed the Rhubarb, or
    Imagining Writing a Poem For Olja

 for Olja
 & not just because she likes rhubarb

I put foot to shovel
& started this poem:
"I'll spare you all
rationales around
cultivation intention"

---then will come lines
on having stooped to yank
up, strip out, gently clear
a year's dead from two
worse than fallow---step one
on the way to this killing.

These big orange roots are damned
hearty, deep.  I shake off earth before
tossing chopped carcass hunks into debris.

Next comes a (prosaic, Latinate) nod
to context:  post-excavation
preservation, the year's plan
until I can see what's what
in these up-cropping mysteries I'm left with,
leftover, left under the overgrowth.
This to say I've been careful, caring:
much caritas; little courage.

I cross wrists on the handle and lean,
like some ancestor, and look:  that's
two of the four now.  Thirsty.

Last I'll write, hitting hard, sharp
monosyllables of need---urge,
drive, spur---flat-out compulsion,
given what's given---to destroy.
Replace the planting of another
with my own.  My tomatoes.  My
first.  This is the thing I imagine
I'll barely need reference
for you.  Subtle here!  But what
images, outside this clumpy garden
of metaphor tangled in metaphor?

Time to fetch a tiller.  I could
leave the last plant.  Fact, I
shall.  I do.  The poem won't
be as good, but later you'll
make me that trade for a pie,
and now I can stop digging and
drink down one very tall water.

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