Fighting Death – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Fighting Death

In the late garden, I stand among stranglers, those late bloomers, hiding
beneath thick and green leaves of summer, waiting for their tender skins

to thicken a bit more, before the first hard frost, before ice seals their in-
fancy without thinking twice. This natural elimination is hard to take.

Once again, I overplanted the garden. I couldn’t hand select the plants
started from seed. I thought everything deserves its one chance. . . .

Now, I’m miserable. It’s mid-October, and I find myself, checking on
the preemies— wishing I were a witch who could cast an intoxicating

spell upon these rows of peppers, and overnight, they will be ready
to be picked and cleaned and put by in whatever recipe I have on hand.

I long to save them, and feel the late morning sun creep over my shoulder
and settle upon this garden’s compulsion to live, like me, to the bitter end.


M.J. Iuppa  is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.

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