Planting the Sacred Turnip
by William Doreski
Planting the sacred turnip
on a hillside above the sea,
we construct a large rock crib
to suggest an altar, and fill it
with compost and coal-black loam.
We center the turnip-seed
aligned east and west to enjoy
the full concentration of light.
When this single turnip matures
we’ll pluck it like a shrunken head
and serve with a good Polish ham.
Everyone who samples it will thrive
in the coming year. Women will bear
powerful infants, men will stride
colossally through landscapes muted
by late autumn’s earthy pastels.
Meanwhile as we finish planting,
a storm has brewed. The sea plaits
rollers bigger than houses.
The tall green scallops pour over
the line of cottages and strip
their shingles. The highway cringes
like pasta boiling. We kneel
in fear behind the stone crib
but the sea can’t reach this high
up the hillside. We’ll have to wait
for the storm to relax. The wind
shucks up and over the hillcrest,
shaking the earth. Afraid to watch
the bluster of surf, we bury
our faces in each other. Let’s hope
the sacred turnip germinates
quickly enough to absorb
the energy the storm enforces
as sea and sky threaten to mate.