so we fill 25 square containers
with compost and seeds and give them
the most direct sun we can, nestled in our kitchen
under the skylights. We spray the fragile shoots
gingerly from above. This morning I drench them, but later
I notice some dry corners so I pick up the spray bottle
and re-soak the pots.
                                  As I set the bottle down this time
I realize it is the pure vinegar we use to clean surfaces,
the acid that kills most bacteria and growing things on contact.
This container is much taller and orange-pink,
how did I confuse the two?
                                            I race outside to the shed
and grab a fistful of ground limestone and try to remember
which areas I scorched. I cast the alkaline ash,
like casting bones to repel an impending pestilence.
Should I have scraped off the top layer?
Do I water them now hoping the hydrogen ions
will accept or reject, sizzling to a safe simmer?
The broccoli necks still hold up tiny leaves.
The red runner beans still coil pale under the surface.
I will have to wait. I place the coral bottle on the other side
of the room, protect the new growth from
                             Yet, by the end of the week every pot
grows verdant with seedlings, waving like sea anemones.
I have overestimated my power to kill, to control anything.
This is no resurrection. This is no failure. The cotyledons
had already decided to live, their feral roots drinking
with the maw of an ancient God, each with their own name for
the sun.