this is the cycle every year; i throw potatoes at the dirt and bury them, slowly, heaping loose compost around the tender sprouts week by week to force them to reach ever higher.

i abandoned them for most of the summer, out of a frustration with my legal relationship to this plot of earth, and knowing that i had planned to be away for a month. weeks ago, i peeled back the top layer of sod, scaring away a large black salamander. i only found enough potatoes to fill the palm of one hand.

"i want ten percent," my downstairs neighbor had joked when i pulled sprouting potatoes out of our shared compost to bury them in the yard. "those are the fingerlings i threw out weeks ago!"

so i laughed at my harvest, some of them small enough to fit up my nose.

some days after that harvest, my brain itched at the thought that i had done something wrong, so i returned to the plot and went several layers deeper. you have to shake the earth with your hands, fingertips gently pushing aside dirt and freeing tangles of roots like matted hair. the earth smells like potatoes. small grubs unroll themselves, the way i feel when my alarm wakes me too early.

i recovered 174 grams of potatoes in total. when i offered 17 grams to my neighbor, he re-gifted them back to me.

04 October 2018 17:21

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