Autumn Edition

Rosewood, Wildfire, even Music: names given to garlic, names I push beneath the surface
impregnating the ground. Each clove is a clone bundled in a bulb carried across continents; strings of DNA stretch taut across five thousand years. Generations before me have performed this autumn ritual, giving back to the earth some of the harvest, otherwise these strains would’ve fallen silent, the names forgotten.

Each clove is a living thing, papery husks with a stilled heartbeat that awaken when broken free from its bulb. Two hundred cloves later, the raised beds look asleep, but a tango of roots has already begun. And now, in early November, when the morning grass is frozen and brittle, and everything seems dormant, I imagine those garlic cloves beneath the soil, pulsing, slow and steady. By December when the fire burns through frost, sending up green spears, I know five thousand years will pass judgment crossing the tongues of the unborn, a singe of garlic will call them to kneel among the dead.

Patrick Loafman

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