Published on Academy of American Poets (

last cucumber from the garden (in conversation w/ julie ezelle patton)











Copyright © 2018 by giovanni singleton. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 27, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The title of this poem comes from a telephone conversation wherein permaculturist, artist, and gardener Julie Ezelle Patton confided in me that she was about to eat the last cucumber from the garden. I was alarmed at first but, after a brief silence, she assured me that its seeds would at least continue. The purpose of my call had been to share and test an experiment—a poem in which the form of a mathematical equation outlining a particular set of conditions could be used to express and then propagate the joy experienced, in that particular moment, to infinity. As far as I can tell, the square roots connect to the ground, or community, from which nourishment springs and returns. The functions suggest uncertainty, like the weather, racial or otherwise, and the exponents always represent power, which in this case rests with whoever reads and repeats the entire poem aloud.”
—giovanni singleton

Note: To see the version of the poem with its original formatting, please click on the poem's title.


giovanni singleton

giovanni singleton is the author of AMERICAN LETTERS: works on paper (Canarium Books, 2018) and Ascension (Counterpath Press, 2012), winner of the California Book Award Gold Medal.

Date Published: 2018-12-27

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