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Linda Parsons Marion



The gardener I never reckoned on, she sows
with the fire of a zealot—rows cowlicked
in garlic, snow peas fence-latticed, mounds
studded gold—my daughter bends to earth’s
pure bidding. She’s living up to her baby name,
called Tater for the sun-brown quickness on nose
and arms. She means to mine these coffers
for yields unborn, sequin the counter with
a gracious plenty. Her reach is the surest we know,
to feed and be sated, even as she nurses
a sprout on her belly’s milk, all of us waiting
for the fruit made flesh, for the muskmelon
to twirl its sweet mouth in pearlized clay
yearning toward first harvest.  



Last of the Red-Hot Maters

November, and I’m dropping the end of it
in my shirt tails. Not the rarified Oxhearts and Beefsteaks
of July, but late Israels split at the hardheaded stem,
shrunken to lesser greatness in a wooden kitchen bowl.
Slowly their cells drink thin western light, recall
the high life—painted ladies twirling at each potent flower,
the abundance weightier, juicier, redder. Now autumn
folds the prickly stalk, our contrary bones, former glories
splintered under the skin—and the bruises, once sore
and glaring, seep into forgetfulness. O winterful dream
rivers to the elbow, pounds the table for more, more
Brandywines still cupping the sun, seeds bursting
hot-blooded seams, our mouths at last unpuckered.



Linda Parsons Marion is the author of poetry collections Home Fires and Mother Land. She served as poetry editor of Now & Then magazine for 14 years. Marion’s poems often join the inner and outer landscapes to bring about understanding and healing. She is an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
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