Symposium poem -- Locally grown
Apple jelly: my grandmother
and my great aunt shared a duplex
where an apple tree, two varieties,
twined into one trunk, red gladiolas
along the fence, a double
glider rocker where I took turns
holding hands with the old sisters.
Apple jelly on yeast rolls, a blessing,
like holding hands with time.
Mead uncorked and cold:
bees drunk on sunshine.
in cold beer on a long July day,
friends together in lawn chairs,
children chasing through a sprinkler,
the air smelling of repellent and earthworms.
Buckwheat honey: a mucked out
stall, a horse sweaty from a ride
across the pasture,
Whoa, Bessy, there's a girl.
Morels: oak transmogrified,
often found near graves,
the descendants of Gorm and
Grette, the Old, the Lame, the Shy, the Loved.
Murphy's chicken: snow banked
against the coop, a blizzard wind
drove cedar smoke over the shingles,
and indoors, a long game
of Monopoly by candlelight.
Frozen corn in March: three farm boys
ruddy-handsome and circumspect
sat in a blue shade, sold ears
by the dozen, caught grasshoppers
in the ditchgrass to bide the time.
Ratatouille: tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant,
onions from the tidy rows out back
where Pop stood in a seedcap
aiming the hose, considering which
David Mamet to teach come fall. Such
a fancy name for plain food,
for a taste of place.
September sweet corn: the brown Buick's trunk
full of ears, a garbage can for silks
and husks, we sat in the driveway, sang "This old man,
he played four, he played knick-knack,"
until Mom went in to the cool kitchen
where she cut kernels off cobs
and shaped ground beef into burgers
we ate later with the last husked ears,
with the sun teetering on the horizon.
Gooseberry pie: we bushwhacked
along a bluff above the Minnesota River,
found the fruit, bled for it--oh, the spines--
complained aloud, and ate it