Siberian Garden, in Braille
by Dejah Patterson

Near the banya 
where the cedar scented musk escapes 
from the cracked wooden door,
 the tomato plants are weeping gently 
over, hanging their green heads 
towards the dirt, as if to say 
where is the water? 
Their bitter leaves are shrugged. 
By August they will blush in the heat 
and steam beside the banya. 

Sveta and I pluck peas from the ground-racing vine. I peel their green skins open and lift the pearls with my tongue. Meanwhile,
the boys race against the vines, skinny legs kicking up dirt between the rows of green peas and beans. Sky and ground seem to seal together in the distant horizon, the blue tucks in against the such marks of yellow wheat.
Against the back fence of the garden is a sunflower forest. They turn their faces to the blue silk of summer and some weep over heavily towards the ground.
One sunflower, taller than me, leans against the jagged fence leaves slacked along the wood head resting upwards. I reach my hand along its golden face feeling the rough stubble of seeds.
I trace the braille of my garden — the dirt, and raised clusters of milky peas, the salty beads of sunflower seeds, the tight bulbs of tomatoes— and read this:
Remember while there is time what it is like to touch color, what it is like to feel sun,
how to fingerpaint back this summer upon a deep white canvas of barren snow.

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Dejah Patterson has always loved writing, and has studied poetry, fiction, and third-person biography writing at the UO in Eugene, OR. She has won several awards for her writing, as well as five dollars from a lottery ticket, and hopes to pursue writing, traveling, and teaching as a career. Dejah is also a songwriter, a musician, and an artist, so if the whole writing thing falls through she’s got those other things going for her, which is nice. She hopes to make it big as a writer someday, so that she can get a roadie to write her bios for her.