I Dream I don't Kill My Garden, by Ami Patel
I palm my soil and it blooms the truth.
I have enough for dinner, a salty curry
with roasted squash, dark bitter greens,
and, of course, garlic. I hug a somber tree
and it perks apples like pink balloons.
I wake up thirsty to a swaying bhajan
of rain, which means my seedlings are ready.
Butterflies and red-necked birds come back,
gravelly carpenter bees too. They don’t sting.
I cascade salt to shrivel the dark bulge of slugs,
confound cabbage moths with a single wave.
My grandma visits and her cataract-glazed eyes
clear like a late spring field. She sees it all:
the stippled sword ferns, puckering mint,
dusty purple beans staircasing to sky.
She is proud, even though she won’t say it.
But she can’t deny I have always been hers,
sand-blasted blood and desert-cradled bone.
Her stubborn root. For her, I demand lush.
My harvest will be a succulent bridge,
and we won’t have to feign full anymore.
Ami Patel is a queer, diasporic South Asian poet and YA fiction writer. She is a Tin House and two-time VONA alumna. Patel's poetry is published in decomp journal, Red Rock Review, perhappened mag, and They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets. You can find her online at amipatelwrites.com and across social media at @amiagogo.