Both Tool and Weapon

We must be gleaners from what life has set before us.

— Elizabeth Alexander, The Light of the World

From the garden, I gleaned a basket of spinach, cooked it with garlic and tamari, and ate it with my older daughter.

Gleaned:  the irises are blooming.  The asparagus beds I planted two years ago I let go wild, and the plants are taller than me, a veritable forest in three rows.  I found a sliver of white quartz, rain-washed, in the bed of sugar peas.  Ragged robin is smeared through the fields along the highways.  Nubs of apple, no larger than marbles, grow on the apple tree before the kitchen.

This morning, I woke thinking of an NPR story I heard a few years ago, told by a man who taught in a prison.  One of his students, a close-mouthed fellow, once blurted an ax can be “both tool and weapon.”   One of the other prisoners inquired, Is that why you’re in here?  Because of an ax?

Both tool and weapon, tool and weapon.  Quartz can be tool and weapon.  My neighbors’ garden is rife with lily of the valley, a killer poison.  Writing can be tool and weapon.  And ourselves, our own fertile inner lives?  Both tool and weapon, tool and weapon.

What stroke of luck —
hawk spied above
Irago promontory.

          — Basho

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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