Sultana Parvanta Afghan Dill

Farmer Steve Sprinkel has tended this Afghan heirloom for many generations over and has imparted some of his certified organic seed to our catalog - and also this poem:

Bees On Dill

Walking the head-high dill I’m growing for seed
I had forgotten I would need
bees on dill that never seems to be so tall
unless it’s in Afghanistan.

I call this cultivar Sultana Parvanta,
a spoil of war, because it’s a bootleg sample
from a well-watered patch in Helmand Province
that she gave to me so I could never forget that misery,

still raging like a deep cut that won’t close,
because we hack at it every day.
If I dared to own a flag
it would always be at half-staff

The bees are mad for the plant,
hitting it like parched inlanders
suddenly let loose on the shore
or lovers too long apart.

I’m driving steel stakes for twine
to hold the crop erect until cutting
and shaking the future loose
in a shower nearly free of regret.

In six weeks I’ll replant the seed
then eat the singular leaves
that turn me towards Helmand gardens
sheltered by apricots, and ancient almonds.

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