Kathryn Stripling Byer

Henry arrives with his roto-tiller

eager to please. Come March

in the mountains we all want a garden.

We’d grow one in stone

if we had to. But of course

we don’t have to. The earth is obliging

and Henry digs rocks from the ground

like a prospector. All afternoon

he plows. Under that jungle

of weeds is good earth. We’re surprised.

“Oh ye farmers of little faith,” he laughs

and picks up a brown clod. “Potatoes,”

he says, “I can taste them already.

They’d grow here like grass.” The dirt clings

to his fingers. Above our heads

Rocky Face Ridge takes the sun like a lover

and beams. “Good thing

I got this job done today,” he says,

rubbing his big palms together

like flint. “Hard rain’s coming

tomorrow.” Today it is Friday.

Today, I keep saying. Today

and today. We live here

by this patch of plowed earth

and we’ll eat potatoes all winter.