Three weeks to moving day
I asked each plant,
“Do you want to come with me?”

The artichokes,
with laced velvet leaves just returning
at the base of their cut down stems,
nod in the affirmative.
Their roots, I’m told, run deep,
probably going well beneath the chicken wire
I lined the bed with, to deter gophers.
~
She’s a very pretty, African-American woman,
twenty-three,
divorced,
Marine veteran.

I had asked the young marines at the base gate
if anyone could help her with her dead battery.
They all pointed at one another…
What ever happened to semper fi,
and all that bullshit?

I went to Auto Zone,
plunked down my last hundred-thirty bucks
for a new battery,
they loaned me a wrench,
and we figured it out,
the two of us,
how to take the old battery out
put the new one in.
Her car started right up!
And we cheered in the 98 degree heat!

One problem solved.
“One by one, one to one,”
Cezar Chavez said,
“That’s how movements are built.
One person to one person.”
~
The strawberry plants,
we can move to the new house.
Maybe I’ll just dig up the runners
and leave the mother plants for the next tenant.
Maybe there will be more bees
where we’re going.
I heard that the small berries
they produced this year
could be the result of Bee Colony Collapse.
~
Her youngest is only nine months,
the other, two and a half.
What a handsome boy!
Looks Caribbean,
with a head of hair that the grandmother in me just wanted to tousle!
A glimmer of an imp in his eyes…

How the hell did she end up here
with these two beautiful kids?
No money.
No place to go…
Colony collapse perhaps?
~
I can’t take the Zapatista corn
that grew so damn tall
that most of them fell over
before the ears were ripe.
They don’t seem to have any roots at all.
I’ll be lucky if I get an ear or two
that I can save for seed
before we leave.
I promised to preserve their genetic strain,
free of Monsanto monsterization.

~
I’m getting referrals from the VA every day now,
women who joined the military,
mostly because they couldn’t find a job,
too often raped by the enemy within,
betrayed by their own battle buddies.

The VA kicks them to the curb,
like damaged goods.

They call me “Ma’am”
and say “Thank you”
and I have to laugh
because nobody protested more passionately against these wars…
and now I’m the one picking up the pieces.

I hope the tomato plants are finished
before we leave.
I mean, I did all the work:
digging the beds;
planting the seeds;
watering with worm tea;
weeding.
Why should someone else get to pick the fruit?

Life is too damn unpredictable
to be planting a garden,
to be putting down roots…

But I keep trying.

All we can do, is all we can do,
and keep hoping for the best.

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