"It's like it wants to rot," Dad observes.
"The broccoli?" I confirm.
"Can we do anything?"
I hadn't looked since I didn't want to look again. Nor had I mentioned it. But, I had been worried by the ring of yellowing brown and hollow center that had formed where I had cut the first, vibrant green heads from the plant. I had been thrilled to begin my plan to be able to freeze broccoli and avoid it completely in the grocery store in the winter. We had started broccoli plants from seed and they had caught the seedlings we had purchased in their plastic pack of six. It was going to be a drought year, or so Dad had said from the direction of early spring winds. Still, I had known something was wrong. I had simply avoided acknowledging it until my dad voiced the same words.
Rain. Hot. Vapor. Stench. Drip. Mud. Weather forecast.
I pick all there was, mature and not, and make soup.
Dad sprays the stalks and covers the plants with a net.
“Farmers are getting exactly what they wanted. Rain. Heat.”
He’s talking about storms of the meteorological and political kind.”
Drizzle. Boom. Thump. Straight down, but unyielding. Rain. Climate change.
"The cauliflower isn't doing anything either. It just sprouts more leaves that twirl together and then outward. The purple inside is pretty though."
"The guy at Jack and Dicks said the same thing. Just keeps growing leaves. He searches for a head. None."
"Must be the weather. Cold weather crops. They just don't like it."
"No peas either."
"Nope. Hail got those. I knew the second planting was a gamble."
Despite what we had ordered. In spite of what we planned.
“Going to have a good crop. But, prices are low. " Dad flips through the newspaper.
Folds it. Drops it in the burn pile.
"Made their choice and they’ll make it again,” he adds.
The wetness lingered. Rain fell straight down. The weather was merciful, despite its repetition. However, the climate was out of our control.
Globalization. Black. Media myopy. Hyper detail. White. Spew. Spray. Vapor. Clouds. Gray.
"I can't tell if we smell wet or poop." I hear his words.
"Imagine a rain forest, everything living and dying at an accelerated rate."
My feet slap up the cement steps. The screen door slams behind.
"I had thought the same thing when I got our of my car."
I was supposed to have broccoli.
"Don't let the flies in."
"No one ever does it, but somehow it gets done my grandmother used to say."
It was supposed to be a sure thing.
Predictions. Forecasts. Broccoli. Cauliflower. Are not sure things,
But they are, best laid plans.
I wrinkle my nose over my salad. The few bits of budded broccoli barely show up in the waves of kale.
Dad turns the television on and turns to the news.