mint should never be driven
to grow taller than corn stalks. still,
here it is, flowering higher than my forehead
and wide-leaved, still tasting of mint
though my neighbors call it yerba buena
& tell me to make tea, or bathe in it
because there is medicine mixed in the leaves.
mystical or not, i dry the plant carefully
& without heat, hung upside-down
to save the volatile oils
my skin carries casually from bruised stems
i should call stalks.
next to the mint, the sage seems small
though it is more bush than plant. i use it for chicken
or pesto, or burning. all herbs
grow impossibly tall in this valley, as if
they are fed milk at the full moon. but they
aren’t–they grow tall in black glacier gravel soil
threaded with leaf mold–spelled simply by
gardening rituals of planting and hoping.
if there is mystery in herb growing
it is for me a series of moments;
the peace of planting,
the needling work of tending, or
satisfaction pressed into
frozen or dried preservation.
the names soothe with music that is spoken, or hummed
by bees visiting lemon balm, also called melissa for
whom it draws, and the other herbs: rosemary,
basil, chervil, several thymes, dill, chives, parsley;
each name with a scent & memory etched just so
deep in the brain, unforgotten.
***at Dverse today, we are talking about solitude–the quiet moments in life, so I decided to write about my herbs/therapy :). Hope you join us over there today!