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Bringing the dirt to his face,

my father smells it, "this is good soil,"

Blessed are You,

and we plant the garden, and

my father tells me he dreamed

while in the hospital

of his garden, dreamed of it

all winter, and he made a vow,

a vow he'd plant again this year,

King of the universe, and

he tells me when planting seeds

stay in the middle of the row,

don't go too far to the left or too far to the right,

and each morning he goes to his garden,

who gives us life,

tends his plants the way he tends

his children, whispers "grow,"

urges them to wrap their tendrils

around the fence, hang on,

and we water the plants, listen

to water as it drips, falls from leaf to leaf,

to the soil and my father tells me

some days he can almost see the vegetables

growing in the sunlight, and I tell him

sometimes I can too,

sustains us and brings us to this time

and before eating the vegetables we make

the blessing for tasting food the first time in its season.

JANET KIRCHHEIMER is Assistant to the President of The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL) and is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from Tupelo Press.
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Publication:Cross Currents
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2000
Previous Article:Joking with Jesus in the Poetry of Kathleen Norris and Annie Dillard.
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