By Cathy Robinson
Potting soil, sand dug up from the wash,
Bucket of citrus and cactus soil,
Handful of perlite.
I mix it up with my hands.
I look like I know what I’m doing.
“My gramma just uses plain old dirt.”
Clear grey eyes challenge me.
“That could work, too,” I say.
She shrugs. Starts to walk away.
I toss a handful of pea gravel
into the first of twelve plastic pots.
The clatter brings her quickly back.
“I’ll do that,” she says.
Mindful, she’s a careful little kid.
I point to the tub of soil.
She picks up the trowel, begins filling the pots.
“We plant these cuttings.”
“You think those sticks are gonna grow?”
She laughs, too loud, off-key concerto,
crooked little face suddenly
radiant as the morning itself!
She can’t stop laughing!
Stop, I say, but quietly.
I begin dipping each cutting in
“I’ll do that! Let me do that!”
“No, I think it’s poison. Kids shouldn’t touch it.”
I show her the label.
She shakes her head, a look of pity.
“You’re growin’ sticks with poison?”
I poke three sorry sticks into each pot.
“They encourage each other.”
“Well, if they grow, it’ll be a true miracle!”
“You’ll see!” I tell her.
I’m wistful as she walks away.
I know far nobler work awaits her.