Today's poem is by Susan L. Miller


God wants me to spend my days
with dirt under my nails,
planting tomatoes and chilies
by the backyard fence. He knows
the tomato plants will overtake
and in five years the fence will be falling
and someone will have thrown
a naked baby doll on the roof
of our house where the chimney slopes.
He doesn't care. God knows
a day or two with the pick and shovel's
good for the growth of my soul.
After my blistered palms have swung
the wooden handle and broken ground,
after I've wiped the sweat off my face
with my forearm, and laid the tools down,
He'll tell me in my sleep that wisdom
was the right thing to ask for. If I remain
in the rows of seedlings, he says, one day
I'll reap the riches of any life. A crop
of tomatoes so large they split their skins.
An evening on the back porch
smoking Marlboro Reds, listening
to the cicadas sing. God intends
for me a life of good labor,
a mind that turns this world
over and over, cultivating it
so something blooms so stubbornly
it overtakes the garden.

Copyright © 2005 Susan L. Miller All rights reserved
from Meridian
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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