St. Thomas Newsroom

Cultivate

generally i don’t complain, but cultivating
a garden ain’t all joy, all that plowed under
sod that never asked to be turned.

naturally, plants keep busting through –
clover, timothy, weeds i can’t name.
with the hoe and my own hands

i comb through, find the right stem
to pull. more than once i been mistaken,
yanked a carrot top or squash seedling

instead. you can’t stick them back
once you done that – they’re lost.
and i have to live with myself,

wasting food meant for my own mouth.
i swear the land is stubborn as me.
soon’s i turn my back, more weeds,

cramped hands, worn knees,
dirt in my hair. the worst thing
is this: it’s a lot like prayer.

Tracy Youngblom received an M.A. in English from
St. Thomas in 1996 and an M.F.A. from Warren
Wilson College in 2003. Her poetry has been pub-
lished in Briar Cliff Review, North Stone Review,
New Hibernia Review and 33 Minnesota Poets. Her
first full-length collection, Growing Big, was pub-
lished in 2013 by North Star Press.

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