but I keep on going

Sarah O’Malley Graham

I plant seeds like prayers.
I plant whatever I want
—Well, whatever sells,
whatever it takes to get by.

I’ve got a penchant for sunflowers.
For the crunch that splits a pomegranate
for the purple of wisteria and the bite of limón de pica.
But I’ll plant turnips if you ask me to.

I work on the field all day.
I till the soil with my hoe and freckles sprinkle themselves across my body.
I hum, the type that’s good for growing.
I tell myself the plants like it, but it’s really for me.

I spy on the rain. Eavesdrop on the mumblings of the sky.
Ask the air if it’s coming—feel the news on my skin.
When it finally does, I dance in it.

But I never stay for long. Not as long as I want.
Maybe, longer than I can.
One way or another I find myself on another sparse patch of land.
And so I till the soil.
And so I water the beds.
And so I get up with creaking legs to weather a new day.

I take a hayride through a pumpkin patch on a fine autumn day in the South and I lay down in the bales and cry.

Rarely do I bear the fruit of my labours.
Rarely do I see my flowers bloom.


Sarah O’Malley Graham was born in Singapore but she now lives in Austin, Texas. She’s lived in Australia, Oman, Chile, and Indonesia, amongst other places. Her work has recently been published in Dear Damsels and CRXSS. When she’s free she likes eating shawarma and convincing cows to lick her hand (but not at the same time).