James Miller

Pulling Turnips

Late Thursday morning.
We open your back door
and cross the pasture to visit
the turnips. Fifty paces
across near-frosted earth.
Cow’s mounds, shallow gouges
of hoof-mark half-filled
with crusted, pungent dew.
The sky is hard as flattened
December grasses, plaster-grey
of urn or mortar. We unwind rusted
wire from the gate, come into
the garden. Thirty feet of growth,
two rows splayed across
dusted brown. Your seeds
have been planted too close—
by now, the mature plants
crowd together, their fronds
interlaced and impatient.
We bend over the jostle,
searching out bursts of purple
where root meets air and sun.
A wrench of wrist and the bulb
is free. Our flat shovel’s edge
separates flesh from green.

James Miller is a native of the Texas Gulf Coast. He is published in Best Small Fictions 2021 (Sonder Press) and in the Marvelous Verses anthology (Daily Drunk Press). Recent pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in Phoebe, Yemassee, Elsewhere, West Trade Review, Sledgehammer Lit, Neologism, Press Pause, Coal Hill Review, The Shore, and Indianapolis Review. Follow on Twitter @AndrewM1621.