Going to Seed

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Riotous arms reach through cages
The red globes bursting at the seams
One twisted tendril chokes a slim stem
While another stretches to the sky

There’s a panic associated with the abundance.
Squash multiplying in size and number in a night.
Ding dong ditch paper bags on doorsteps.
Midwesterners lock their cars in squash season.

Each morning and evening watering feels futile.
Already below the jumble of limbs,
The tomato leaves wither to earthy brown.
One small sphere rots in the dirt.

The scent of damp earth, decaying matter,
A glittering diamond on a yellowed pea leaf,
They are the tipping of an unseen scale:
A gentle slide towards the first hard frost.

Will the potatoes finish in the next seven weeks?
Suddenly the vegetables are on a deadline
I am in a holding pattern
The harvest really is, at this point, out of my hands.

Each day I squint into the orange-haze sunrise
Muted by forest fires a thousand miles away,
Knowing the destructive frost awaits,
But not knowing which day.