Preparing the Garden for Winter

I suppose I should hack off the crisp hands

of the squash vine and make pickles out of the

cucumbers, but I dumped all the vinegar on the

weeds. The ridiculous zucchini won’t stop reproducing.

I’m sick of the wifely obligation to turn them into

another goddamned green-flecked breakfast loaf.

My grandmother, one hundred and five now, spent her days

stocking shelves at the family hardware store.

She de-greased clanky bike parts and shined up

gritty piles of hinges with a rag dipped in lighter fluid.

She used her fingernails to scrape sticker gunk

off tubes of spackle. Just when her work started to

please her, she had to go home to prepare the evening meal.

I tried to fall in love with tending to pea shoots, the

mixing of bone meal, the scent of a round, fat

squash, or at least to bring myself to bother

with the overgrowth. Maybe I could get there if it

weren’t for the oily chains and singing drills.

If the key machine would stop preaching.

If its mound of shavings didn’t rise up from the

floor in a sort of holy, glittering glory.

If I could ignore the box of spare parts

calling to be tacked together, whether by

dowel or by twine, by brace or by bit,

anointed with WD-40, stroked by the sander,

shellacked and sent home in a paper sack

full of other glossy, delinquent, rough-cast poems.

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