As a boy, dad read to me nights,
my head on the salt-lick of his shoulder.
Sundown turned him in from gardening
tomatoes and talk of rain to story and prayer.
His t-shirt I wore to bed was thin
as boiled tomato peels on mom’s countertop.
The cotton shirt had lost its lettering
but wearing it, oversized as it was,
felt a sureness wrapped in sureness,
a safety planted into safety. Like when
my wife and I lived in our first apartment
and had no plants to tend, yet come laundry day
when I folded my favorite high school t-shirt
back into her drawer, it was a thinly-veiled
hope, see-through as honest prayer
after night hemmed us into bed,
where we made our own garden, searching softness
under softness, washing after washing.
[Check out Seth Grindstaff back porch interview]