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Barbara Crooker

So, now we’re at the end of the line,
a row of zeros, the 26th step
of a long straight ladder; finito,
basta, the last stroke, the slash
of Zorro’s sword . . . .
And here we find you, deep
in the heart of the garden
at the zenith of summer,
green Zeppelins floating
in a scratchy-leafed sky. . . .
Although you start small,
from an oval tear-shaped
seed, quickly there’s a sprout,
then two heart-shaped leaves,
and suddenly, you’ve taken
over the whole garden, nudged
out the radishes, covered up
the beans, hogged all the sunlight,
growing faster than I can say
ratatouille three times . . . .
In Corsica, my ancestors weeded
around your roots with zappas,
leaned on them to survey their zolas,
small plots, hoed them smooth
as a Zamboni clears the ice . . . .
We serve you up stuffed and broiled
with cheese topping, shredded
in quick bread with raisins and walnuts,
sautéed with tarragon, stewed with tomatoes
and basil, stir-fried in olive oil,
or in a cold zuppa, sour cream
floating on top. We even nibble
your flowers, dipped in batter, golden-fried.
Then, at summer’s end, we find
what’s left, lurking in the leaves:
an enormous baseball bat flung
in the corner, abandoned, waiting
patiently for the seasons to whirl
around again, bringing the start
of spring training, the sun,
rising like the letter A, rosy in the east.

This poem first appeared in Iodine (2009).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Barbara Crooker’s award-winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies and have been featured on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), The Writer's Almanac, and in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress. Recipient of many fellowships and residencies in the U.S., as well as in Ireland and France, she was also a Grammy finalist for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along with Me--the Best is Yet to Be. Barbara lives in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Learn more about Barbara at





Post New Comment:
Great poem, Barbara. You take me back to my father's vegetable garden---and that "enormous baseball bat lurking in the leaves" is just wonderful. I love the A to Z, too!
Posted 08/08/2011 09:04 PM
Just brilliant! Marvelous ode to that oft maligned veggie.
Posted 08/06/2011 10:55 AM
Nabby Dog:
Williams Carlos Williams said, "Anything can be grist for a poem" and Barbara, in her skillful hands, shows how a poem about zucchini can take us to so many delightful poetic places.
Posted 08/06/2011 09:55 AM
Fun, yes the alpha and the omega.
Posted 08/06/2011 09:19 AM
Posted 08/06/2011 08:52 AM
Gail Goepfert:
The flow, the imagery, word play, perfect A-Z!
Posted 08/06/2011 07:36 AM

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