January Ambrosia

January Ambrosia

Right up through the snow, green shoots of garlic
pushing up their stems to January sunlight.

Planting garlic on my father’s October birthday,
Autumn’s golden sun slanting a spotlight
on the best of our garden for
finger-drilling holes for white cloves;
turning over spade by spade,
this rich black soil, cool to touch,
but not cool to red worms, for sure,
quickly stretching out long and skinny
to reach safety in deeper down earth.

Crunching apart a garlic bulb, I separate cloves,
shed the paper white garlic skin, then
finger-drill deep down holes to
snuggle in a garlic clove, loving this
age-old ritual and practice,
hole, clove,
hole, clove,
5, 6, 7, 8, all the way
with clove 14 to row’s end. Ah!
pasta sauce, bruschetta, meatballs–
garlic simmering in olive oil.
Our ancestral ambrosia and the twinkle
in my father’s eyes, and his father’s eyes,
as they tugged loose from earth their garlic,
and held up the plump bulbs to the sun.

Looking over snow and leaf mulch
covering the garlic — secrecy of their roots,
my father and his father, conspiring in
this blessing of soil, sun, and water,
awaiting the spring, as do I, white garlic skins
windblown across my furrowed rows, these
green shoots, fingers pushing up through the white snow.

1-4-2016 James Ciletti    revised 1-6-2016

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About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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One Response to January Ambrosia

  1. Your father would love this, a beautiful legacy to his love of the garden!

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