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,
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