By Aliza Abusch-Magder
Blue Heron Community Garden
Waited by the flowers, stared at blue acid skies until a butterfly landed. Bombarded her with pictures, stared through the screen at her enlarged, papery wings. Marveled, “just a creature.” I have over-ripened; the summer of my heart riding a roller coaster has come to its halting cessation. I am queasy, relieved, thrilled, nauseatingly alive. I sit in a garden that I haven’t seen since May, happy to report that she is well. She has bloomed. From barely parting buds to fruit: the flesh and film of deep-red tomato, luminous plump royal of eggplant, me in a fuller form, hair sheered, ever-wide hips. The sun has been blaring like horns from traffic on the road that runs parallel to the garden’s rows. Summer has bloomed, blossomed, and now bubbled over its peak. The sun has been blaring and tomato’s red heated to pale orange, the flowers crisp at their edges, the tan dulled on my skin. Seeds sown in spring have been harvested, cornucopian excess soon to rot; the chives have flowered; the eggplant became matte, brown, a gauzy gash in its side. I stew in forgiveness that I cannot speak. My gratitude swells and springs dense to my surface, nourished by friends, lovers, adventure, laughter. A potent life from which concision emerges in a state of deep content. To be here, to have arrived at this moment. Summer’s fruit has shifted towards over-ripeness. My bubbling bright heart. The butterfly I bombarded. Bouquet of scorched flowers and bloomed chives. In the moments when I land, delivered by the churn of life into stillness, I sing to myself: I love you like burning blue acid skies, you are a creature, your seasons cycle brightly, vitally.
I am rotten apple and I know this because carpool moms begrudged me, loved me and never liked me. I texted flip-phone boys, too fast, shin guards stank, chewy bar bits, thighs splayed on the sedan’s leather seats, sang along to the radio. All the messy they thanked god their girl wasn’t. Carpool moms prayed to bento box lunches, hand-held vacuum, tearing up when appropriate, goals scored, teachers gifted, goodie bags with bows. My mom is an Ima, and she blessed me every night, told me that God is messy and that I am a part of her. How confusing to be a rotten apple raised in the cornucopia of the divine.