C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Poem to Bury in the Family Garden

By: Alec Montalvo


My mother 

never told 

me 

about

the stars

I guess 

they didn’t matter

instead

she handed 

me a spoon 

and told me 

to dig

I pushed 

away 

the smooth 

and rounded 

stones

that covered 

the planter 

in the garden

stuck 

a utensil 

into 

the soil 

filled 

my mouth

with dirt

and seeds

now

whenever 

I smile 

for 

a family portrait

I wish

a tomato 

vine

would 

drip 

out

my 

nostrils 

coil 

around 

my throat

and tighten

like

a python

and for

a fig tree 

to grow 

from 

out 

my 

mouth

and

knock

my head

back.




Alec Montalvo is an emerging poet. His work has previously appeared in Caesura, The Serpentine, and featured on the front page of PoetrySoup.com. He lives in Staten Island, New York and works in Brooklyn as a High School English Teacher where he teaches Creative Writing. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Poetry. He is also the guitarist and singer of the indie rock band, Good News for the Clovers.


"When I was a kid, I would often tell my mother whenever I was bored. One day I said it again, only this time, she responded with a story about when she was a young girl. She too once said, 'Mom, I’m bored' to her mother. Except, my nanna then pulled a serving spoon out of the kitchen drawer handed it to my mother and told her to go out in the backyard and dig. I found it very funny. But, it was the first time I heard a story about my mom’s childhood.


I decided to write a set of poems about what I learned from my family members. My nanna, is a devout Roman Catholic and it is no secret to anybody who meets her. I wrote the poem from my mother’s perspective of that day, incorporating biblical symbolism with allusion to the fig tree in the Garden of Eden. Additionally, the python also alludes to the serpent in the Garden. The poem expresses everything that comes along with religion and how beautiful and destructive it could be to someone." 


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