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Saturday, June 26, 2021


by Erik Schwab

Graphic source: The Daily Plant.

It’s not that they’re screaming. It isn’t pain exactly,
in the market garden, these kohlrabis and cabbages,
these garlic scapes: it’s that they’re in shock. Harvest
is our word, theirs must be apocalypse. But another
word is anthropomorphize and someone told me
once I shouldn’t do it and I believed them and found
the stump of my root dunked in a washbasin and divested
of holy dirt. Now near the end of time

I wish medications were poems, I wish I were floating
over lakewater, skipping silver marbles instead of
saying the new things I say every reluctant day: I’m
on the mend, thanks, thanks, I’m grateful for the
prayer, for the sea urchin, for the red beetle, for
the cabinet of curiosities you sent and for the gig driver
who lost three family members while my heart was 
locked behind a thick pandemic door.

The right kind of time traveler would go twenty years back
and plant that tree, but we service-patched cyborgs
haul our untested upgrades in one direction only, toward
the gracious refusal, toward the retirement of connections, until
the building falls in the middle of the night, the slumbering tenants
dreaming of skydiving and waking to astonishment.

Erik Schwab lives in Seattle, WA. Last year he started writing poems for the first time since college, with the invaluable help of a weekly workshop at Community Building Art Works.