Coming from a mixed background, there has often been this complication around home. Netherlands or India? North or South? East or West? The Pacific NW feels like it. Every time I drive down that last hill toward town, see the Olympics thick with snow or hear the train carry over the Sound, I can’t imagine anything closer to home.
Since I recently visited my parents in CA and spent a few hours with my hands in the dirt, I’ve felt the urge to grow something. Time to re-populate my window sills with African violets and lettuce starts—to smell that good smell of progress. Likely, the makings of salad, a cherry tomato, strawberries, basil, and what am I forgetting? Tell me, do you have any hints?
While researching container gardening, I noticed some free workshops offered through City People's Garden Store, which incidentally refuses to sell noxious weeds/invasive species such as English ivy. Still, I wonder if the trellis where I stop daily to enjoy the scent of some unknown flowering vine isn't one of these…
The following poem was written about another gorgeously seductive, yet invasive species.
Wisteria contain yourself, your legs are far
too feral—spawning by day, rising to twelve
new shoots by morning.
The apple tree spied you
making a pass at the pear
who has done nothing
but boast about her figure.
green, my curves.
Remember your thirst, Wisteria, what first
sent you scaling—how you bet the English
Ivy you’d fetch the sun, a wheel of light to throw.
But your tongues are always
in the way, dripping
and who will trust a tongue
whose purple is her iris
whose iris is her fall
whose kiss could paint
portraits in the dark.
With your many eyes, Wisteria, swallow
what bears. Your trellis fills.
Your garden betrays you as you betray.
Feast, Wisteria, on the light you’ve stolen.
by Natasha Kochicheril Moni (Again, the author kindly asks that you only link to her poems and not reprint them or sample from them without her permission. Thanks!)
First published in Pebble Lake Review. Reprinted in Kathleen Flenniken's The Far Field.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.