New Hampshire Scallion

by Rodger Martin

Up here, for once, humans keep silent
like parents gone for the weekend
leaving a house of spaces a child must fill.
It is April—before the garden and still cold.
The early sun tries to warm all it touches,
but the breeze steals what heat it can.

In most of this northern, temperate half
of the wobbling globe it is spring.
But out here, only onions have deep pockets,
show they believe the promise of spring.
Even the river lies, pretends to be not cold,
rolls quickly, numb beneath all that glitter.

Around here, one can trust the onion
or the sputtering drum of the grouse
coughing to life like some distant, old
one-lung Ford. Both root like oak
and will stay through April snow
and the late ice. How the scallion promises:
sweet, succulent. Sniff me now, it says.
Taste quickly my green pipe of life.


Old Swanzey Road
Photograph by Karen Hope




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