Nature Nurture | MJ

Photo by Karina Halley on Unsplash

The gardener chose the Soil and
         the Soil was good.
The Soil could have done without, but
         saw their gentle way,
How they tilled Her fertile body with
         their own calloused hands.
In early Spring, they arrived with bulbs
         and seeds of all kinds
And sweetness with which to plant them.
         The gardener dug
Neatly lined pockets to fill with seed,
         singing as they sowed:
Oh, my dear sweet Soil, how I wonder 
         what we will grow.
Soil swelled with new sprouts by day,
         turned bitter by nightfall.
She feared the gardener would claim Her
         sproutings for their own.
The gardener returned faithfully
         with water in tow,
Massaging Soil’s scalp and plucking
         pests from newborn leaves,
All the time singing: oh, how I wonder 
         what we will grow.
Soil had become weary of all the
         gardener’s “we’s.”
They had not grown a single thing, merely
         tended to Her seeds.
She cried to the dry sky for rainfall
         and the clouds did weep.
On the final day the sower returned
        to the Soil,
She had grown a mouth with which to speak
        and swallow them whole.
By then, Her sproutings had grown up to
        the gardener’s knees.
As the gardener began to sing,
        Soil folded them
Into the earth, despite their muffled screams.
        She began to sing:
Wind finds tree, acorn finds the ground, 
        rain hits soil
And we grow grow grow. Seed rain and soil – 

                                            need no sower.

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MJ is a Black, queer non-binary poet and parent. Their work is featured or forthcoming at Foglifter Press, Rigorous Mag, & Borderlands Texas Poetry Review. MJ has received fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, SF Writers Grotto, & VONA. They are currently the Community Engagement Graduate Fellow in the MFA program at Mills College.

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