Where sage survives, the woman rules.
In fallow fields, she plants only when signs
are in loins, feet, neck or breast. She sees
the moon rise as a sliver,
and knows April.
Armed, she tills, flushes
hornets from soft powdery ground. Be forewarned.
The woman knows
the heart leaf to crush its root,
to plant ramps and garlic, to place a spider’s web
across the wound to stop
the bleeding. She needs not
the mandrake, but dreams in two languages
to wake in one of love; selects words
like ash, blackthorn, elm, gillyflower
as if a medieval garden,
unearthed with an apothecary tenderness,
knowing not all things fire lightning in a bottle.
Is it no wonder,
the woman possesses power
to pass through the eye of a needle?
Summer Hardinge grew up in rural Virginia, and has spent years teaching high school English and creative writing, traveling, and digging in her Maryland garden. She is a certified Amherst Writers and Artists facilitator and leads workshops in Maryland, Virginia, and southern France. Hardinge's poetry has appeared in The Rappahannock Review and Ekphrastic Review.