My father tilled the land,
churned up black soil, a garden
bigger than most backyards.
My mother doled out seeds
and my fair sister and I scampered
down the rows, dropping
peas, corn, cucumbers, hard work,
honesty, beets, potatoes, courtesy,
radishes, obedience, carrots,
zucchini, and dill.
We spent summer afternoons
weeding, we were organic
before that was a thing. The garden
had to feed our family for the year,
had to feed our souls for the year.
Some grew better than others –
dill exploded throughout,
its seeds spreading like dandelions.
The freckles on my sister’s face,
my mother’s shoulders, exploded
in response. Humility stayed buried
in the dirt, refused my mother’s greedy
hands. Zucchini grew unchecked,
gargantuan in size and I struggled
to carry them in my butterfly wings.
Late summer the ground purged
her final offerings and we flitted
down the rows, gathering these gifts,
eating peas straight from the vine
and giggling, drunk on sunshine.
My mother frowned, reprimanded us,
clipped our delicate wings,
hoped to quiet us.
We haven’t stopped screaming since.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of chapbooks Siamese Sisters and All in the Family (Bottlecap Press). She is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix Review, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
Beth Couture‘s work can be found in a number of journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, Drunken Boat, The Southeast Review, Ragazine, and Thirty Under Thirty from Starcherone Books. Her novella, Women Born with Fur, was published by Jaded Ibis Press in 2014 as part of its Blue Bustard Novellas series. She graduates with her Master’s in Social Work at Bryn Mawr College in May, and she lives in West Philly with her husband and five cats.
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