Retrospective

audioear pictureHear the author read this poem (in RealAudio)

What carried us from year to year was yield:
potatoes in, potatoes out, like rowing.
Fist-sized, firm, rich-tasting and abundant—
of such abundance we could eat them all
winter long and have some left for seed.
It seemed holy even then, to harvest
red and russet, shake the moist earth
from the tuber, feel its heft and lob
it on the pile soon to be transported
to the fruit room (dirt floor and damp cement,
tomatoes on the vine, apples, potatoes).
An earthy flourish of the immanent.

Spring, and quartering the rest to plant,
one eye, at least, per chunk. Father crouched
over the hoe. When did I learn to see
paternal love in seed potatoes planted
with a grunt? Or catechism in the rhythm
beat out as he sowed, tamping down the dirt?

Presented by

Geri Doran's first collection of poems, Resin, received the 2004 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Doran lives in northern California.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In