Poems by Patricia Zylius

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Potatoes

by Patricia Zylius

From Canary Fall 2017

Patricia has lived in the same house in Santa Cruz, California, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River for 47 years.

— Monsanto’s early transgenic potatoes caused severe organ damage and blood abnormalities in test rats, but Monsanto suppressed the report. Poor sales made the company quietly retire the product.

I recognize the parentage of my potatoes,
small purple fingers, marbled inside,
sweet and creamy. It’s years since I first planted
their great grandmothers. Each fall I save
a few of the most vibrant. In the spring,
winter cover crop dug in, I sow the eager tubers,
careful not to break off any shoots,
then mulch with fragrant compost.
Every generation comes up succulent and true.
When the tops have bloomed and withered,
I slip the spading fork into the ground,
lift the smooth-skinned jewels
and spread them on the path to dry
while I inhale the soil’s breath.




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