Bare feet in the October afternoon
we peel apart the flowering silks
of season-ending sweet corn;
the scent of sugared earth floats
as we tear the still-green leaves
revealing rows of cobbed kernels.
Snapping free the stalk and
tossing aside the husk,
we lay the ear by for blanching.
The girls yank and pull and tug
at the shucking, laugh, and grasp
a silk or two with the tips of their fingers
and run through the grass. I boil, blanch, and shock
the loaded cobs, fillet sheets of gold nuggets into the pan,
spoon the bags full of summer’s gifts for winter’s darkness.
I fill these poems with yanking, pulling, tugging,
shucking, laughing, grasping, running,
the sweetness of childhood’s gifts for the winter’s darkness.
Squished banana adornes the counter,
turning formica to quartz,
sparkling, innocence like the eyes of infants.
A vase is filled,
broccoli blooms buttery
and the cilantro bolts to corriander,
tiny white flowers like lace.
Stalks of swiss chard, their deep red veins
and ruffling green leaves stand supportive
at the bouquet’s back
and the mint waits to be noticed.
Headed for laundry, I pass through the kitchen,
wipe up the abandoned fruit
and wonder about the remaining scent unseen.
When my babies are grown, explorers in the wild world,
how will I see love?
the cut herbs and harvested vegetables
like an aura in the full kitchen.
When the empty bedrooms gape,
radical gratitude must be my first nature.
Then the absence will be as abundance,
the overflow of my blessing cup.
Spaghetti squash lies in the October garden
beneath butter-yellow flowering broccoli.
Bees still visit, bright-stripped and fuzzy,
while cabbage white butterflies float over stem and stalk.
The earth waits to be turned,
the garlic cloves to be buried,
the leaves to be gathered, scattered and spread.
Our unpruned forsythia holds a bough of apple-red leaves proudly above the ground.
The night air has us under blankets now,
and we stretch, move, and breathe slowly in the dark mornings.
In this earthly life we grow and ripen, huddle and hibernate, take root and flourish,
turning, and turning, and turning toward the light.