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September 16, 2014
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feast for pachamama

Photo by Amanda Reed

By Tracey Gass Ranze

these snow-sumptuous and barren vegetable beds
remind me of the coming heat, the gritty sun beat
the fruit flower, green leaves, the canning steam
and i wonder how much we will need by summer’s end
of soil, seeds, sprouts, sweat

as spring gets on, i know it’s not just heat
but light and dark that conduct the spark of leaves
the sustained note of the open bud that murmurs the arrival
of long-light, the firefly-lit, slip of night

and i have these long days to make dirt -
to dig it from a decade of cut and heaped lawn clips
to toss it in the wheelbarrow
to cut in ripe kitchen compost, plus
two scoops of limestone and a pile of rotting leaves
to add a fork of mulch straw, a bucket of farm manure
and finally to slow to sacred-time to scatter a prayer
with a jelly-jar of Lynn Elfert’s ashes - as per
her posthumous request

now to feed pachamama - mother earth
to roll into some shade, to cool the stir and stir
to lean over the deep pan of the rusted garden cart
clenching a claw tool or pitchfork or favorite wooden stick,
mixing and mixing, even drips of salty sweat season
as i shovel, toss, chop this black-batter in- shovel, toss, chop
to build my garden beds, to plant my seeds, grow earth

where at rest, i listen and watch -
the rains release the dirt and split the seed to stem
the sun unfurl the leaves, insects consort the blooms
seeds don their fruit, earthworms eat dirt at harvest.