Subverting Control

[Image description: one corner of my garden, pallet fence on the left and wire fencing on the right, with trees behind. In the foreground are calendula seedlings growing from the soil next to some stepping stones, with a large patch of black-eyed susan, coneflower, and goldenrod plants growing behind them, yet to bloom.]

In the garden,
work complete for the day
but not ready to leave,
sitting on the kneeling pad,
bare feet in the dirt,
pondering control
and lack of control.

The bodily autonomy
of women and the marginalized,
our children’s safety,
our mother planet,
existing so precariously
at the whim
of those who want total
control as they deem it.

We know there are other ways,
alternatives to this cycle
of dominance and power
we are born into,
inhale with our first breath,
the beginning
of our indoctrination.

Some have left us wisdom, stories,
even shown us by example
other possibilities.

I like to think of other possibilities,
how to subvert control.

Some days,
that feels impossible
and I sit despondent,
weight crushing.

But sometimes I remember resistance,
words of collective liberation.

Looking out at clover growing
abundant in the part of our yard
we’re letting go to meadow,
I think of how lovely it can be
to let go.

I remember years I’ve spent
unraveling my own indoctrination.

And now I breathe deep and look around
at the volunteer Black-eyed Susans
I couldn’t bear to clear,
the goldenrod and late boneset I left
growing among the coneflowers,
even though this gives my garden a wild,
unkempt flair.

I eye the morning glory seedling
I did not plant
that recently appeared
between the rows of straw flowers
and decide to leave her alone.

The act of planting what I have
is enough control for this space,
not everything needs my intervention.

And maybe, somehow,
these decisions unravel
one more thread of control
in the universe.

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