Grace Mote built a raised bed and in the spring she planted sunflowers. The bed was in the patch of dirt just beneath her kitchen window. The sunflowers bobbed when the wind blew and the people on the sidewalk just steps away would reach their hands through the bars of the fence to try and bat the swaying heads.
She wasn’t a gardener by habit. Before this spring she’d never planted anything, and she’d never built anything of wood. The raised bed was enclosed by chemically treated planks of pine, and when she’d lifted the planks they’d drifted in her grasp as if they were subject to a different and less stable gravitational law than the one she was used to, and it had felt good to corral them.
The scent of the soap rising made her calm. She spent a moment watching the people on the sidewalk strain at the bars. She could hear Val scratching at the corrugated pink strip where his sweatpants dug into the flesh of his waist. He was waking up.
They scrape them off yet, he called to her. Not yet, she said.