Steps slow and measured. Bare feet in the furrow, wisps of chalky dust trailing. Tomorrow’s dew will settle the powder, but only until the sun peels the ridgetop. Until then a visage of singular puffs, the prints fossilized afarensis along some ancient Saharan riverbed.
The rows 36 apart, predestined and foreordained by the plow. The seed carefully placed one to a finger-shaped hole. One to two inches deep, three to six between. Covered by a little pat, the tenderness almost sentimental, usually reserved for the head of a good dog or a beloved grandchild.
Heart of a poet, not a farmer.
Daybreak after planting, the sky cracked-open. Four inches in a matter of a few hours. I stood in the midst and watched, a visage of some forlorn and demented scarecrow in a sea of swirling black feathers. Sweat-soaked in the eve, rain-soaked in the morn.
The rows held fast, anchored to the earth by some unseen force. Perhaps or perchance through a shaman’s trance, lips moving inaudible prayers or curses into a turbulent sky.
A week passed. Two weeks. Now three.
The sky sealed by a celestial signet. Heat building each day, stacked like strata viewed bottom-up.
Such tender shoots. Promises of ears, pods, and succulents. Colors not green but off-green, wilting and folding inward like ancient scrolls exposed after centuries of desiccation.
Tomorrow dawn I stretch the hose. Waters of survival only, creating a mirage of an oasis. Temporal relief. Water from pipes stave-off, but they do not nourish. Treated is for human, rain for plants.
Sunday morning shower, rinse, repeat.
Odds makers book Monday at six in ten, but never wager against the home team, especially in Alabama.
I look heavenward and wait, my nursery of babes waiting to be suckled.