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Sport 33: Spring 2005

Russell Sprouts

Russell Sprouts

For a long time, I thought that the sprouts
had the name of my father: Russell.
That was the sound of someone
moving in the vegetable garden.

Because one night he laid himself down in the dirt
and went to sleep. From the places where his eyes were
and mouth, hands, and feet
pale green plants sprouted, warm and bitter,
bearing his name: Russell.

If anyone could lie so still under soil
so as not to upset
the new sprouts from growing,
naturally, it was him—it was only him, the quietest one,
upon whom they felt
at home. When morning came

he brushed soil from his hair and swam
a silent length, backstroke,
in the pool: early light
enfolding his skin
in leaves of palest green. Before we woke
he was up and over the window ledge
in a perfect Olympian vault
and through the curtains, with barely a rustle.