Saturday, May 15, 2010

Food Poem: Canning


We spent last summer

canning pickles –

I dug up old recipes

for putting love and sweetness into jars;

you did the hard work of sealing the jars,

making sure no air could come in.

Together, we chopped up what the earth had given us,

we salted, sweetened, and boiled our concoctions

to purify them and preserve them forever.

Those pickles were so good.

We ate them right up.

(I still have one jar of peaches

that I’ve been saving

for when you come back to me.)

Since then, you have preserved all manner of my accomplishments:

my tomato sauce, my chicken stock, my pumpkin soup,

about which you raved to our friends,

holding me sacred between the tongs,

sealing me in love.

So, I cannot comprehend

how one jar of curry

quietly exploded

in the pantry –

you must not have

sealed it tight enough.

It leaked down the wall

and started to stink –

our kitchen

that contained our love –

stunk like rot,

our efforts turned bitter

weeping down the wall.