Written by Callan Latham
Dad sends me outside to cut the tops off the basil.
We must avoid their pollination, so we kill
the flowers. I kneel to the ground, still wet
with the frosted dew of spider webs. My feet,
inches from the stems. My fingers, reaching,
pinching off the beauty. I watch the blooms fall,
tiny heads separated from their unknowing body.
And so they collect at my feet, bloodless
and too fresh to be dead. My hands smell
like home now, a sharpness that reminds me
why everything always comes back to how it was.
We replant the basil each year, cut off the flowers,
then the leaves, feeding ourselves on the killing,
on the collection of what we have given,
of what we must now take.