Wednesday, October 29, 2008


When I get up you aren’t on the couch watching cartoons.
The front door is ajar and you are outside
digging with a kitchen spoon,
still clad in cartoon pyjamas,
an apple core in your little hand.

Your kindergarten class is learning about seeds.
Bean sprouts grow tall out of a Styrofoam cup with
“Caleb” printed in blue crayon across the side.
You pick up all the pinecones you see and tell me that
trees will grow from them.

You tell me you are planting the seeds from your apple.
I tell you that apple seeds might not grow in the shade of the house,
from earth more rock and clay.
You tell me you don’t mind,
there are always apples in the fridge.
What you want is the tree.
You explain plans for a luxurious tree house.

Later that day we sit at a table for two.
You drink root-beer from a child-sized paper cup
and we eat hamburgers and fries covered in ketchup.
You pick the sesame seeds off the bun,
examine them,
and with a flash of excitement in your eyes,
clench your fist around them.
Staring intently into my face
you ask:

If I plant these seeds will a hamburger tree grow?

I am careful not to laugh.
You hate not being taken seriously,
and your face is too earnest in its wonder.
I take a sip of my cola,
pondering your question.
I don’t want to lie to you,
but looking into your eyes
I have entered your world,
and maybe hamburgers can grow on trees.

I tell you that I don’t really know,
that maybe we should plant the seeds.
You wonder whether the tree will produce
Cheese burgers or regular hamburgers.
You’re pretty sure that you’ll have to add your own ketchup.

At home you drop the seeds in a hole you scratch
in the dirt next to where you planted
your apple seeds this morning,
your pinecones yesterday,
your peach pit last week.

I hope that hamburger seeds are resilient,
that they will sprout through this tough and rocky soil,
that they are able to germinate
in this harsh Newfoundland climate.

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