portion of the artwork for Elizabeth P. Glixman's poems

Nolen’s Vegetable Garden
The Hand He Was Given
Elizabeth P. Glixman

Nolen had nine fingers
This was not the way he wanted it.
His hand should be whole
And strong so he could pull weeds from the garden
He planted for all the town’s people.
His mother prayed everyday for a miracle
What? said the townspeople
You want should God grow new teeth for people who don’t have any?
Give sight to the blind or high arches to the flat foot afflicted?

His mother nodded yes.

Nolen had a knack for growing tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers
And nine varieties of pasta
(Pasta boy was his nick a name),
even though he was minus one spatula.
That finger was his middle one on his right hand and perhaps it was his good fortune
That finger was left out of the hand he was given at birth.
That finger was not nurturing in its vernacular usage.
If he had that middle finger (the other middle finger could not bend) it could have popped up
Any time of day.
Pasta Fazul. Praise be the Lord, said Nolen
Every day in the Latin he learned at school.
This was a holy town. Everyone ate
Wafers on Sunday.

The angels blessed the gardens hidden in the greenery.
Zucchinis as large as an elephant’s trunk
Tomatoes squishy red with juice—
For Nolen was one of them without wings.
Nolen’s mother accepted he was fine on his ninth birthday
The way he was.
She knitted him gloves with four flaps for his right hand.
And five for the other.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 28 | Spring 2010