The Wrong Question

By Deb Watson, flickr, cc

By Kate Foran

“The pandemic has got me thinking a great deal about how the vulnerability our species is experiencing could be an opening to imagining the threat and constriction that is the reality for so many other species and often at our hand. What about the grief in the chestnut blight or salamander epidemics?”
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

At the height of the viral bloom, our travel circumscribed,
we wander with our girls to the patches of woods that still remain
between the housing tracts and industrial parks of our neighborhood.
In the scrubby, choked lot behind the schoolyard where children never go
even when school is in session, the path winds and we stop short

as the leaf litter gives way to green-gold

spring ephemerals, trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit preaching


and acres of—we get closer to identify—yes, ramps,
those coveted rare sweet garlicky tender leaves that sell
for twenty bucks a pound at the farmer’s market
here prospering for their own secret satisfaction.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure in a field…

Later we’ll look this plot of land up, and find, of course,
that it’s for sale: exciting opportunity
for East Hartford’s newest subdivision!

When will things return to normal?

Right now, our children, who have nowhere else to go,
whose care complicates our work,
find the plants with three or more leaves,
gently snap one off at the purple-red stem,
help feed us.


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