On Morning Glories
There were just a few strands tangled with the grass and burdock when I cleared the yard. A few delicate strands, I thought, couldn’t hurt.
I left them to grow, tying some kitchen string to direct their path. What I didn’t know about morning glories: They laugh at assistance.
The vines strangled the string, racing to its tip and then creeping back over themselves in endless spirals. One hot June night I went to sleep and in the morning discovered one young tendril had grown several inches overnight.
I slept again, and dreamt morning glories had grown up to the sky, as I stood in an apron battling the tendrils with a pair of kitchen scissors. I woke up with a thudding heart. But I was only afraid, I knew, because I could not yet match their lust for life, the delirious race toward the sun.
In late July, when the vines had massed into systems thick as ropes, the growing seemed to slow slightly. And bashfully, one unusually cool day, they bloomed: papery flowers nodding at the slightest breeze, a violet prayer.
The next time I dreamt about morning glories I was pregnant, and the entire garden situated in the sky.
What I didn’t know about morning glories: They become even more beautiful in death, their wispy skeletons still clinging faithfully to the garden fence. But they are not dormant. Each dry head contains a healthy cluster of small black seeds, just waiting to race me to the sun again.
I collected some seeds and sent to my mother in a package labeled “Brooklyn morning glories.”