Back to Issue Twenty.

emergency garden



We taught our house to swim and so we can live in a house. Because our only soils slept in small fractured boxes, we bred new soils, and found rich fodder in the tongues of some old, pale men. Some. We pried open mouths and removed the first few with a burning solution of some industrious bacteria, cultivated in the brown-orange chemical sweat seeping from cracks in the ceiling paint. But the old men complained of the flavor, and so we turned to knives. We saw blood, heard yowl, smelled throat, and wept. But you old men: if you can’t be reasoned with, be useful. If you can’t listen, you might as well grow us vegetables. New arugulas gag us, but we growl as we swallow; the water rises no matter what they denied. Tongue-less, they still grin downward to us on chilly days, or when we find some patch of remaining land, as if, as if, as though… And we tell them they are right, and always were, because foolish, pink, mediocre soil can still produce beauties, if tended, if pretended, if tricked.



Amanda Haag lives in Milwaukee with her husband and two children. Her writing has been published in New England Review and is forthcoming in Storm Cellar and The Indiana Review.


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