This seasonal poem is reprinted by permission from Marsha Truman Cooper’s new chapbook, A Knot of Worms, released this year by Finishing Line Press. This collection gives voices to our non-human neighbors on earth, reminding us of our interconnectedness and our obligations to one another. As you can see from the poem below, Cooper skillfully uses humor and fantasy to recall us to empathy.
A Disregarded Pumpkin
I’ve lived in this field too long.
Nobody has chosen me to be carved
or turned into pie. My face,
never a marketable commodity,
has begun to separate from its old
expression. Even children
trudge along the rows and leave
my odd skull behind to go soft.
Look. My seeds go crazy, twisting
in their oval sleep. I see the future—
a fade of reddish yellow, my regular
features lost to rot. I wonder
if the jack-o’-lanterns are enjoying
their candles, if spices make
my fellow vegetables feel sexy
while they bake. Alone here
on the night’s cold ground, I can
suddenly sense my good luck.
I predict that the farmer
will wake before dawn to plow
everything under, open my bright
head and, whether he likes it or not,
plant another season of my dreams.