Thursday, January 26, 2012

Only Women Walk Down the Stone Steps

The farmer’s wife,
her hand brushing to smooth her floral apron,
elastic nylon stockings folded over at the knees,
shoes black and chunky,
takes jars of beets and onions, carrots and sweet corn
that wait next to the red plaid cookbook
and carries them down narrow stone steps
just inside the screen door
to the canning cellar.
In the cemented basement room
shelves lined with paper have been brushed and wiped clean
from swatted, crushed black flies.
The hands that snapped string green beans, sliced apples, peeled potatoes,
and cut flank steak
fresh from a slaughtered cow,
arrange the canned jars in silent rows
on metal shelving that resembles wire-wheeled market carts.
Boxes of fabrics,
bolts of linen, cotton, silk tablecloths
cower in the corner protected by gossamer cobwebs.
Upstairs, simmering on the stove
bone and broth breathes in, breathes out
wafts in and down
covering the old farm house,
musty drawers, old sachets, and bacon grease.

GL, 1/26/2012. Prevail.

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