My father builds a square frame
from wood scraps and nails
a sheet of metal mesh to it.
We dig up the backyard, sift rocks
from dirt to prepare vegetable beds.
Hands in soil we can’t see the future
graves or the know which of our names
will be called back early: Mom, 60,
Jeff, 19, David, 17. The photos from those
summers show us dwarfed
beside the plants and later reveal
plants dwarfed by us. The tomatoes
come out gigantic – juicy and too perfect.
This was before the word organic
came to common use, before
we knew animals were fed antibiotics
and growth hormones, before
we knew chickens ate the same
tainted produce we did. We water
and weed. My father sprays
repellants and dusts with insecticides.