How to Save the Summer

When you’re putting up the bounty of the garden, it’s positively lyrical.


Pickle juice simmering on the stove
perfumes the kitchen, late summer cucumbers
and beets, sliced and quartered, fill all available bowls.
Jars, lids, and bands sanitized and ready to be filled.

The television blares the life of penguins,
and I search my memory for winter: that day in April
when four inches of snow suffused the parking lot
at my high school, my fingers numb and raw from scraping
the windshield. They didn't close school in those days.
We just plowed through.

The timer dings. I pull jars of dill pickles
from the water bath, line them on the cooling rack
lost in yesterday’s kitchen when Mom canned
freshly picked green beans and Dad harvested honey
from our hives. I can still hear the bees humming.

Recipe for a Home-Cooked Meal

Gather corn from the field just after the rooster crows.
Shuck and pile high on the counter. Wash and desilk.
Cut the top of each kernel and scrape the pulp
into a large roasting pan. 

Spoon the cream corn into pint jars, add a teaspoon of salt,
seal with a lid and band. Cook in canner for one and a half hours
at ten pounds pressure. Line each jar on the cooling rack
for twenty-four hours before placing sealed pints in the pantry. 

For supper, simmer green beans with an onion and salt
in the crockpot all day. Boil and mash Yukon Gold potatoes
and open a jar of cream corn. Add two teaspoons of sugar,
a dash of pepper, and a dollop of butter. Heat over medium. 

Arrange the cooked food in Grandma's bowls, 
on the dining room table between the everyday dishes.
Bake rolls golden brown and add the rooster
that woke you this morning, quartered and fried.


About the author

Chris Wood lives in Tennessee with her husband and several furbabies. She is a member of the Chattanooga Writers' Guild and her work has appeared in several journals and online publications, including Poetry QuarterlyPanapoly, and the American Diversity Report.

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