KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Poem: 230 words
Prose Poem: 209 words

Two Poems

by Scott Ferry

The only thing that makes sense is to grow

My body struggles to make full sentences 
especially the first few steps out of bed 
down the hall with my daughter 
clinging to my shoulders like a coil of questions. 
She springs into the chair, I pretend to own my knees. 
I cannot regenerate cartilage. I am decaying. 

But I have built three long wooden boxes 
that look like graves. I plan to place bags of dead 
material enriched with peat moss and blood meal 
and bovine manure into the caskets. She helps me 
fill small black plastic trays with compost. 
She monologues about flowers never being weeds 
as her fingers push seeds into each pod of dark soil. 
I scribble on blue tape and attach to each group of cells: 
marigold, leek, tomato, jalapeno, cinderella pumpkin, 
zucchini, broccoli, snow pea, sugar snap, sunflower, 
echinacea, nasturtium, thimbleberry, apple, curly lettuce. 
Some seeds are so small they are like mist, 
some are as big as dried teeth. 

We make her a spray bottle so she can drizzle 
each container in her dew, singing bright drops 
of youth that scatter with the droplets. Soon, 
peas jut out towards the skylights, followed by 
squashes and sunflowers. She never wears a jacket outside, 
even on this windy April afternoon, where we place 
new limbs into cold earth. We hope 
they will survive those unexpected lows. 



Dice, Marigolds, Molecules

After I built the cedar planters, I found the cheapest soil to fill them because each plot needed twelve bags for a total of thirty-six. I never thought dirt could be so pricey. So I collected coupons, and my wife and I slowly stockpiled the heavy damp slabs and poured them in. All this so we could have vegetables jumping out at us like bounteous confetti. This did not occur. Our pumpkins withered, okra stunted, lettuce dwarfed. While the plants under the cedar tree that were supposed to be languishing sprang to the sky. Again, plans built around assumptions built around luck or some chemistry I didn’t know.

So, I poured in expensive fertilizers, organic vegetable foods, transplanted lettuce and squash to different areas according to superstition. Finally, the pumpkins have spread their five-pointed flowers open and bees coated in pollen swim inside and gather. But mostly the result is lackluster: carrot shoots three inches small, garlic shriveled and brown, marigolds the size of quarters. The images in my head were just images. And growth cooperates very little when it is forced. The okra doesn’t care how I feel. And the beets wave their pygmy tongues at me under the shade of the one healthy tomato.

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