Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inclination: A little plant story

Thank you, Professor Zarin.


Ginger had a vague notion that the concrete underneath her feet was uneven. That she was currently standing on a crack in the sidewalk, and that growing out of this crack were weeds: wild-eyed dandelions, whisker-haired buttercups, and spiky cocklebur. But when she looked, there was a sprout. Four inches tall, it had crested upwards like a skinny, splotched teenager, yoking the weight of its numerous lily-pad leaves. The tip of the sprout drooped. The stem was notched with dark, coagulated green bands, each a scar from haphazard footsteps that had bent the sprout in two and forced it to bow. The leaves were pocked with blemishes. Near the base, a shriveled, desiccated leaf was hanging by its stem.

Ginger noticed the sprout was swaying. She plucked it out of the ground. Holding the plant between her index finger and thumb, she examined its contours—the blemished stem, creased veins, waxy nodes—and had an urge to lay it inside the pocket in the underlining of her coat. Then her cell phone vibrated. As she reached to answer it, she flicked the weed away, and it tumbled earthward, head-over-heels, before coming to settle on the raised bed where the gardeners had just planted the new roses.

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