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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1458210
Rated: E · Poetry · Experience · #1458210
A woman surveys the empty jars.


After The Gleaning

All the empty jars that line
these rough unpainted shelves
were once full.
They made a show:
contentment
in a row of yellow peaches,
applesauce brown as cinnamon stick,
tomato juice bright and plum butter
dark amber of molasses.
Spicy salsa everybody raved about
is all gone.
There was never enough.

Now spiders and dust
weave their pervasive veil
over all these empty jars.
Cellar air is damp
its musty scent clean enough;
but glass rims don’t gleam.
Nothing about them invites
touch.

I remember them full.
I remember gathering fruit,
peach bloom itchy on my skin.
I remember how you always loved
to eat my home-canned fruit;
and the one you wouldn’t let me
pick.

We dropped anchor in a deserted bay;
paddled the dinghy to a little cove.
You took off my clothes.
Ocean rocked us to sleep.
It seemed so simple.
How could I know you would turn
away?

Your suitcase stuck up like a rock
in the hall by the door.
I held myself tight,
watched you leave,
said nothing,
but when you were gone,
I sat a long time talking
to myself.

Shy women in white robes
lined up along the wall
outside the door
where the machine was kept.
I remember how
nobody was there,
how they all left
without a word
when the machine was turned on.
Later, we drank juice and
averted our eyes.

This house has a root cellar.
Heavy wooden door
on a rusty metal ring,
like the loop in an oxen’s nose.
Stone stairs lead down
beneath the porch
below the kitchen;
cellar walls carved from solid stone,
rough and lumpy,
like the inside of a cave.
This house is built on rock.
It is not my house,
but it has a plum tree.
And when the plums ripen
I will pick them.

It’s quiet below ground.
Spiders own this part,
of an old country house
in an old country town,
with windows that stick
and walls that run
at odd angles to eachother:
an easy house to live in.
A piece of broken cardboard box
makes a dry mat on the dirt floor
where,
when all the jars are empty
it’s good to have
a quiet place to sit.



© Copyright 2008 Stillwalkn (stillwalkn at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1458210