by Tom Bajoras

When I was just nine,
I imagined making our whole yard into a garden.
I pleaded with my parents, but they refused.
Still I imagined and drew elaborate plans.
I knew exactly where I would put the tomatoes,
rows of expertly trained lima beans,
a feathery border of asparagus ferns, maybe even some artichoke plants
with spiky branches like
something on the sci-fi channel.

I had dozens of possible plans,
And secretly I schemed how someday while my parents were away at work,
I would remove the grass, turn the soil, sow the seeds,
and when my parents returned and exclaimed “what have you done?”
I would argue that
it would be too much effort to change it back.

I had such thoughts from spring until fall
and also thoughts of neighbors coming to ask for vegetables.
But I would just laugh and tell them to go away.
Even if I had more than I could ever use,
I’d rather tomatoes rot than give them to people
who don’t appreciate my skill.

Now, many years later,
I have my own yard.
If I wanted, it could all be a garden,
but I’m too busy to care for it.
Also, I’m afraid
of what I might do if my neighbors asked for tomatoes.