Swisschard

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On a good day: Not as pretty as it could be, maybe a little worse for wear, definitely surviving and growing.

The seeds sat mixed among a display
of ordinary local vegetables.
Taste of my homeland summers
I clutched them to my heart,
hand-carried them to the register,
and brought them home from
that distant supermarket.
I hoard each seed.
I’ll probably never get any more.
We are kindred souls,
my swisschard and I.
Not born of this soil,
not native to this climate,
nevertheless fighting as hard as we can
to put down roots
for our survival.
The first months were exciting:
row of perfect seedlings,
promising dreams of more success
than imaginable,
only to have them all nighttime nipped
by invisible demon slugs
or some reckless, mauranding gang
of cutter ants.
All save three.
I babied these three,
watered them religiously,
rarely dared
to cut them for dinner.
They were too close together,
but I hesitated to move them
One transplanting was more than enough.
Careful, careful.
If they fade, there’s
No coming back.
These greens tug
at my homesick heart strings
and are my husband’s favorite.
Every afternoon
I die a small death
as they flop to the ground
unable to withstand
the fierce sun
then each morning
they are reborn
standing tall
once again.
I have finally come
to accept that
this is the way
of their existence.
Rise, fall, come back again.
I am comforted
to see that they are growing
against all odds,
They are surviving here
in this foreign place.

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