Poetry: “Seed Starters,” by Meghan Howes

Strange how the rain comes

on days like this, when blue

in any context is a lie, a scratch

on the sky’s socked-in surface,

and the gutters on the house next door

leak like sieves, cracked and bowed,

dropping water into sidewalk ponds.

We let the sound in when

it suits us, note the downpour

but cannot feel the storm.


Cities wrestle for sky, jostle

for land. Every single tree

in this western town was planned

and planted by hand, century-old

wood sentries still standing

despite fickle Front Range weather.

And each spring in North Denver

amidst jungles of broken glass,

brownfields and bindweed, backyard Edens

wake from their Superfund-site slumber

and prove the naysayers wrong.


We order starter kits, lower the downspouts,

sift our compost and shed our socks.

Next weekend we’ll turn the raised bed,

let it rest a spell. And before we know it

we’re parents, standing over our bright

seedlings, cooing. The tomatoes wake first.

We cannot stop smiling.


Meghan Howes is the director of communications at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She has a BA in English from the College of Wooster — where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Vonna Hicks Adrian Poetry Prize for an outstanding body of poetry — and an MFA from the University of Montana, where she was a poetry fellow and served as poetry editor of Cutbank. She has been published in numerous magazines and journals, including Ascent, Artful Dodge and High Grade. “Seed Starters” won the blue ribbon at the inaugural Denver County Fair poetry competition in summer 2011.

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