Farm Hands

By Lilja Walter, KCC Urban Farm student aide11222936_1021180417903973_6387449318426881408_o

Every day I look at the progression of the tan on my arms. I trace over the marks and splotches that the plants have bestowed upon my epidermal layer. They are the gentle kisses that the farm leaves behind after a hard days labor. On the train I am wrapped in my cozy dirt blanket. The light dusting protects all of my exposed parts from the cold train car, allowing me to rest rather than shiver. As I am lulled into sleep I admire the soil locked behind my fingernails. I feel my fingers worming through the land as I try to free my loves from the saboteur weeds stealing their nutrients.

I dig my arms deeper into the soil.

My fingers elongate and squirm through the dirt. My new roots tickle those of my friends. My legs twist up to the sun as my toes begin to flower delicate purple and white petals. I beckon the bees to my sweet pollen so that my comrades and I might flourish and fruit. Water begins to trickle from the sky, bouncing off my vibrant green leaves. The droplets trickle off my limbs to the thirsty ground. Earthworms brush me as I drink. The days pass and my limbs grow heavy with a bounty of fruit. The gentle hands of a farmer reach down and pluck my offerings; this produce that we grew together through patience and passion. The dance of the ecosystem goes on for weeks and I hope for it to never end but soon I begin to feel the effects of age. My petals curl back into dried husks. My leaves, spotted and blemished by the sun, yellow and dry. My once succulent fruits begin to sour and rot off my limbs. The tender hands which I have come to know so well tussle with me until my roots can no longer grasp to my home. I watch the critters that once roamed between my protrusions frantically shuffle through the dirt, desperate to find a new hiding spot. As I lay on a pile of my fallen compatriots I know that it’s time. I embrace the sun, which once cared for me as a mother, as it blisters my corpse so that I may feed her new children.

Suddenly the train jolts to a halt and I awaken to a reality that isn’t my own. My fleshy human legs drag me on to the platform and up the stairs. But as I fumble through the hordes of concrete, metal, and people I glance upon my fingernails again and am comforted by the knowledge that tomorrow I will have the privilege to be those gentle, tender farming hands.