Espaliered tree


            And so you sit, the artichoke in front of you, and you forced to eat.  Artichokes are vile, are yuck, are one step from mold.  They make you puke.  Why does your mom serve artichokes?  Sure, she grows them, makes you help plant them and give them long drinks from the hose.  But why do you have to eat one?  What is up with her?
            Each time she serves them, with sauce, boiled, baked with cheese, she says you must eat one.  “You’ll like artichokes some day,” she says.  “None of your friends know what it is.  Think of your luck.”  You think your luck is bad, bad as an artichoke, this weird fruit with scales and spines, gray, not green, with flesh you scrape with your teeth.  The whole thing is wrong, and you sit, the artichoke in front of you cold, and dumb, and dead.  “Bill,” prompts your mom.
            “Soon,” you say.  But by soon you mean, “In my next life.”  You know your mom.  She loves artichoke.  At some point she will let you go to your room.  You will sneak down the stairs and watch her stare down your artichoke.  Your frown as you sat in front of the choke will turn to her smile as she sits down.  And she will pluck the leaves, dip them in sauce, and eat.  She likes artichoke.  Her teeth scrape scales.  She flips the leaves and they land in a bowl.  She strips leaf after leaf and finds the heart, scrapes the spines away, smiles again.  You could choke on the sight, but you grin, spared once more from a life with artichokes.

"Choke" first appeared in Zeitgeist







Compost heap

Asparagus stalk

Cross hatch garden

Datura blossom

Thistle flower

Garden shears

Dandelion seed head

Cracked earth



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