Gardener at Heart - Book Two

Inside A Crookneck Squash

The knife cuts a straight clean paisley slice,

Shining with life,

The rind cool and yellow as pressed butter,

The layer inside a warm, yielding white,

Cells glistening;

Inside that, the future seeds in cross-section, so thick

You could cross the river on their backs,

Their hearts tinted green,

Their shells still soft as molted crawdads,

Their tender cotyledons sweet with juice;

And between them all, across the middle,

A map of the old pollen highway.

When the slice is bent,

The seeds open and close like the mouths of antiphonal singers;

When the slice breaks,

The seeds heave like whale-backs out of the foam,

The mother-water parting around them.

The rind is firmly crunchy,

The outer rim of flesh soft,

The inner sea of flesh almost too soft,

The seeds slippery and delicately crunchy,

The flavor mild as spring air...

And now the slice is gone,

Savored, devoured,

Finished, vanished;

And already its predator is plotting

Just where the crooknecks should go

Next year.

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