Emile Hofstede

The Glass House

i.
It’s still warm from the day,
the seedbed, light and moist.
Leafy greens are best
sown during a waxing moon
roots during a wane
even better
seeded
at night,
like tonight,
in a faint
glow.
The fingers know
the shape of seeds,
the necessary depth
of planting
and how to envelop
everything
in readiness.
ii.
At forty-five there is still time.
Systems are functioning
although
there is a rumour
things may not be
all go.
iii.
Frost’s first kiss
lies upon the ground.
Brassicas and spinach may still be planted —
these seedlings already hardened outside
for days and nights to come.
More important, garlic.
Ready the beds
for the longest night
choose the largest
healthiest
cloves
from last year’s harvest
(crush the remainder into virgin olive oil or compost)
gently rub the papery skin
to liberate a bare bulb
hold tip upwards
insert to depth
no more than twice the bulb length
cover with compost then pea straw
for nourishment, water retention, weed suppression
continue:
feed
water
weed
until the shortest night
iv.
Her body has changed shape —
carries weight and water.
Her face has a decoration of unevenness.
These nights, and sometimes days
the bed she sleeps in
presses back
and there are unforgiven aches.
Finally, the mattress
needs to be
replaced.
v.
Cloches ease transition
through these days of early winter.
The glasshouse
brittles with age.
Surfaces are etched.
There is a fungus
that cannot be
washed out
in spite of days
spent scrubbing.
vi.
The heart. The mind.
This ready pair.
Something is always missing.
A matter of the senses.
A matter of connection.
Seductive.
             Isolation.
There is the matter of fate.
There is an inability
to convey
se paraten ess.
vii.
The nursery lights
shut off
automatically.
There is nothing to see
at night and light
can only give so much.
Days shorten without notice.
Still the bed lies prepared
and the cup of the moon
holds a smile.
viii.
Through winter’s dark
the plantings grow
in the ground
around her.
Nourished.
Spoken to.
ix.
She bleeds
with the moon. 
Meanwhile the quick of her thins,
and what she grows
no longer sustains her.
Soon she will be transparent
and on some unexpected
cold night
in spring
like a glasshouse
of unseeded beds
she will shatter.

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