Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
- TITLE: The Zucchini Chronicles
By Emily Gibson
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With two-leaf seedlings labeled green and golden,
Non-descript squash plants harboring so much
Hidden potential, waiting patiently in a window sill.
Sometime in May, planted deep, two leaves become twelve
Reaching to capture sun rays between the cloudbursts
Which watered the burgeoning roots, slurped by tendrils
To become swelling vines.
By June the plants crept across the ground with vines
Reaching past the beans to greet the cucumbers,
Going where no vine has gone before
To divide and conquer, leaving no dust untouched.
July buds formed blossoms inviting bees deep
Into yellow-throated pollen pools
Thickening within days to elongated flesh:
Fecundity in action before our eyes.
The finger-like projections at first harvested
Too small, but temptation overwhelms patience;
Sauteed, grilled with garlic, superb in
But come back a day later: hose-like vines
Pumping into each squash, progressively inflated like
Balloon-man balloons to be twisted and transformed
But too plump, too distended, too insatiable.
It's a race to keep up with the pace of production
Eat some, give them away, leave on doorsteps like abandoned kittens,
In boxes in church lobbies, lunch rooms at work,
Food banks posting signs: No more zucchini please!
They march in formation in the garden path
As they are yanked swelling from their umbilical cords
And lined up, stacked, mysteriously multiplying
Like the brooms of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".
After harvest frost, tossed on to the compost pile,
In a scant few months of warm decomposition,
In dead of winter, amidst steam rising, a bulging seed threatens to become
A seedling,innocent enough, poking through to the surface…
Run for your lives!
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