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A PARABLE

Mustard seed, grandmama said, shaking the packet.
Look at that. If something this teeny-tiny
can grow into a thing worthy of the gift of life,
then surely you can, too. Eat your vegetables.

She never let up. I couldn't stitch small enough,
my fumbling fat fingers would bleed on bright scraps.
Taking my serpentine sewing out so I could try again,
she'd ask, Did I tell you about mustard seeds?

My faith is smaller than that seed, sometimes,
trying to work itself under my skin, hungry for light.
I sprout doubt and blame, second-guessing God,
wondering, what is this purpose he's working out?

The ground was well prepared, she'd seen to that,
feeding my faith with hers for when she'd be gone.
Now it grows like a prairie fire, there before I know
what's happening, there when I call out for help.

I bought some seed, potting soil and a planter.
Tomorrow, I'm going to get my daughter interested,
too soon for the garden, but it's good to start some things
early on. I'll say, Did I tell you about mustard seeds?

      — Shann Palmer