Horseradish — Poem by Odarka Stockert

I go dig up the horseradish
its long bitter spear of harshness
reminds me of the taste of spring
always a slight aftertaste from the year before
the resentful winter and the cold
if you mix it in, just so-

it is zippy and bright
but relentless
too much
and it drags you
to the depths of regret
not enough?
you forget what was there

in the garden
the earth is still
cold but no longer frozen
it breaks up into small lumps
exposes the root of all sorrows
how it adds to the flavors of life
how it takes away innocence
year by year
leaving behind
that slight pleasant austerity
wisdom and resignation
to what remains.


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