Peas zigzag through weeds, scaling borage instead of trellis. Tomatoes stagnate, grass and clover thrive, tender beets sprout alongside dandelions tubers. Uprooting one hefty weed evicts the fledgling vegetables. It all grows, though the weeds grow best. My own roots reach back to clean plow lines and blooming rows: eighty acres of fruit farm plus a rectangle of Ontario’s Eden beside the old garage: all-you-can-eat green beans, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, rhubarb for pie and stewed berries over ice cream. I grew up knowing a weed is a weed and a plant is sacred. Behold my upscaled quagmire—Royal Burgundy Beans, rainbow chard, heirloom Spanish radishes, yellow pear tomatoes— mingled with timothy, dandelion, broadleaf plantain. A feast of colours descendant of rain-scented soil spread down a long laced table, paired with a leggy wine. Inside, I hear the garden call. Dillweed whispers and waves, its delicate imitation fern summons rusted canning rings while blue morning glories drown everything by mid-August.
Wendy BooydeGraaff’s poems, stories, and essays have been included in Critical Read, Not Very Quiet, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Meniscus, and elsewhere. Originally from Ontario, where she grew up on a fruit farm, she now lives in Michigan suburbia.
This piece is a selection from South Broadway Press’ March issue, Language of the Earth.