I pulled weeds from gravel driveways for a few summers.
Dandelions are a hack with a trowel, thin weedy spines a quick straight pull, fat jade plants, low to the ground, impossible until you find the root. Gloves help, but not always. Even be-gloved, close-cut nails collect grime. There is time to think about how your knees become imprinted with the rocks beneath, the subtle pressure of calf against thigh, stomach doubled, the impossible angles of wrists twisting plants away from the earth. Gravel gives way to sand, black industrial tarp stretched tight, how the weeds still find a way through it, the fairy-tale unlikeliness of being eye-level with ants. Looking up is strange after hours of eyes upon the earth. To eradicate the root, you must rip the strange canvas that lies between rock and dirt, and gloved hands find something that is neither root nor weed.
A kind of egg, dull, purple, mottled, a perfect bruise. Soft to the touch, and covered in glistening mucus. When pressed, it splits open. White cotton packed solid fills the cavity. I do not understand.
In the high, clear Colorado summer, the sky as blue as it will ever be, aspens a-shudder, a young woman clutches an alien seed and throws it away with the rest of the weeds.
© 2015 Anna-Christina Betekhtin, All Rights Reserved.