Just-Harvested Garlic Curing on a Plastic  Fold-up Table on a Patio

One hundred eighty seven 

fat to midland bulbs Pat pulled
from earth two days before
lay in front of me now
arrayed like skulls of little people,
root tufts sprouting from tops
like hair on shrunken heads

They lie in their leafy finery, but dry, 
crusted with the dust of their nativity,
unlike Lazarus who lived and died first 
and was then placed in earth only to be,
not long after, called from it
at the insistence of a persuasive saint 
—pulled forth he was,
having just settled in for the 
long snooze 
But these little white domes 
were birthed from dirt and now, 
as if waked on this folding table,
as if laid out in Portugal’s Church of Bones
all at rest among peers sharing
their redolent scent of Italian kitchens,
(the memory of the nosey music of marinara
rising in my own bony dome)
as if to say, 
……………… “All of us here,
each cloven skull,
together divine,
play this olfactory chorale 
from a plastic dais
for you
—and any nearby neighbor 
coincidentally sniffing air”

“Here we cure,” they coo, 
“cooling our leaves
in open shade
to a breeze and 
Oscar Peterson 
from Pandora
flowing through the spigot 
of your smart phone,
though sacrificial,
as is the fate 
of all lucky 
…… you 
…… you

Jim Culleny