The Root of Things
I was one spit and one swallow
one wasted one saved
one truth and one lie
a man a woman
I was a choice in the dim light
I was the best choice a non-choice
like the morning
Their real mother told hearts as fake eyes,
pretty blind rocks and strange sex fever talk.
I crossed out every love,
regret that says scars read all dark,
that says take me out,
that says foxes come pretending and smoking.
Their real mother told every child—
take me far away.
These seeds were honest—
pushed into the ground.
Now, a flimsy table cradles
a basket of peppers,
cardboard quart boxes with rusted staples
filled with tomatoes
the color of goldenrod,
onions and cucumbers flaked with soil.
A tin can, whitewashed,
slot cut into the lid
for money, the dollars I earned
scrubbing the undersides of desks at school,
boogers from inside lockers,
my first summer job.
This is the honor system.