Honorable Mention: Harvest

lone fieldbeat-up bucketsteered away
from okra nettlesthe sun cuppedtomatoes
come off vineat the suggestion
firm and pliablea held hand
in the housewaiting on dinnerwe feast
tender ringssalteddrippedswallowed
fastas we can slice


Our urban gardening teacher points to the drooping kumquat
tree, asks us to help it with harvest, teaches those who haven’t
yet partaken that there’s no need to peel. My friend has the
first bite, finds the fruit to be a whole growing day bursting in
his mouth, so he stands and feeds until his stomach bows out,
and the tree, bent in prayer, raises its eyes.


Myrtle walks steady
up the hill, her pendulum
of hair swaying side to side.
The bags from the food bank
take the other axis. She miracles
the extras into supper for neighbors
lining the goldenrod hall. Their plates
fill like the windows with light.
Once, I asked her, Do we have a duty to help each other?
She replied, No, only if you are able and it brings you joy.


Coffee grounds for the compost
Pea pods for the cattle
Vegetable peels for the chickens
Paper bags for the young apples
Fallen leaves for the fire
Maggot for the robin
Broken pot for the toad
Barrel for the rainwater


In Seattle, fruit is decorative,
drops to the ground unkissed.
Neighbor apples project their sweetness
up and out, like dying stars.
Bike tires and rubber soles
pulverize them to sidewalk applesauce.
When moss subsides,
blackberry brambles lace the city
so I dutifully ascend the hill
behind our home, twice weekly,
hear the grid of open windows while feeling
for the coolest berries, those most laden
with juice, to pluck and bear
back into the baked house.


I don’t believe there isn’t enough.