Watering the Crops

Photo by Mesha Mittanasala on Unsplash

(for Barry)

Tomatoes big as breasts, he brags,
raised in topsoil dung and peat.

To repel pests each night
he pees the borders of his patch,
while chain-linked neighbors snore
far above their emerald grass.

One full moon I watched him water,
stake by stake. By day, like deer and hare
that sense what they can’t see,
we skirt wide around his yard
and do not look him in the face.

Come July he knocks,
and I bend by the door
to Big Boys mounded in a bowl.

I think hard above the knife of all
that ripens thanks to acid in the earth,
then drizzle oil on juicy slabs
of crop he pissed the dark to grow.

Gary Stein

Gary Stein’s Touring the Shadow Factory won first prize in a national contest. Gary coedited the poetry anthology Cabin Fever, holds an MFA from the University of Iowa, and has taught creative writing. He is a member of Sandy Spring (Md.) Meeting, living in Silver Spring, where he and his wife, Cathy Henderson, raised their two adult sons. Contact: henderson.stein@verizon.net.

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