In a phone conversation with my mother
we say good-bye first, and finally,
after hours, hello.
A ripe Brandywine turns
from burnt umber, to pink, to green.
Flesh hardens. Juices dry up.
As the fruit lightens,
stems lift their droop.
My cousins and I collect
my grandfather’s ashes
from his fields, gathering them in fistfuls
we place tenderly into an urn.
Petals fly from the ground.
Pollen migrates upward
from deep reproductive recesses,
attaching to a bee’s leg.
The bee flies backward
to a tomato plant in the neighbor’s yard.
Bee populations are on the rise.
A surgeon places the ovary
gently into my body, twists
my fallopian tube into a tangle,
watches it turn black and blue.
My grandma gets all her memories back
for one fleeting second,
then forgets them one by one
as wrinkles dissolve slowly from her face.
Whorls close into diminishing buds.
Rain floats skyward;
gathering, in droplets, to the clouds.
The Brandywine plant contracts
its leaves, one by one,
meristem lowering into the soil.
My grandfather collects pesticides
into nozzles. His plows reverse
the soil back into place. He tucks weeds
between vegetables. Rivers run clean
all the way back to the source.
My mom is a teenager, pulling smoke
from the air with her lips,
returning to the town she will call home
its population growing
then dwindling, to fade
eventually into prairie.
Roots recede. Cells merge,
walls breaking down
A casing hardens around the seed.
My grandfather—now a boy, eyes
shining beneath the shadow of his hands—
plucks it out of the ground
between thumb and forefinger
and places it carefully
into the seed-packet,
closing the hole
he made in the earth
as he moonwalks away.