she breezes through

staffing the tent at the farmers market (for the first time) and a girl dressed in all black, (maybe seven years old) walks up and tells me straight away that she wants to play the seed game

i ask her to guess what the seeds are in each of the 10 mason jars arranged in front of me. so she breezes through the first two

pumpkin
            sunflower
then gets to the third one and lifts up the jar for a better look. hey no cheating i say knowing that they are all labeled on the bottoms,
and she looks up at me and says i wasn’t cheating. i never cheat. well, only a little sometimes just to be funny.

 

 

smashing a crowd of them

in the dream the girl is five years old, and it is clear that i had abandoned her. she looks up at me with her blue green eyes as if she’s asking the hardest question in the world, and i feel the pressure of whatever it was i had done weighing down on my chest.

kneeling in the wet ground i plant the
sunflowers
with c,
the ones i had started on my windowsill in june, the ones now with root bound bottoms all interlaced and overgrown, craning their still strong stems upward to see the sun and i say
sorry
that it took me this long to find bare earth to plant them. and the drizzling rain christens their new home.

but they’re not from around here, m, who is 6, says
about the gypsy moths, when i stop him from smashing a crowd of them that we find on the giant oak tree. well, are you from around here? i ask him, to which he nods emphatically, not understanding a connection. but why don’t they just go back to where they came from?! he says angrily. it’s just a little more complicated than that,  i say, and we walk to catch up with the rest of the group entering into the woods.