for Judith Kitchen
I’ve washed a winter’s worth of collard greens,
torn the leaf from stems and veins, steamed
the greens in broth, adding red pepper flakes,
cayenne, too, then ate the fans I’d frayed
and mixed with rice and beans.
I triple washed the beets, separating greens
from bulbous roots. Steamed and boiled,
they helped me pull away from winter,
start remembering it’s spring.
The peas go in, the onion sets, more fava beans,
soon cauliflower and tomatoes, the orange,
yellow, green, and maybe striped as well.
I plucked last year’s shriveled figs, born too late
to ripen on our maturing tree, tossed them behind
our fence with prayers that figs might sweeten
sooner now that years are moving faster toward an end
that I refuse to really see, though I know how fast
the growing and faster still we eat.
Sheila Bender is the founder and publisher of http://WritingItReal.com, a site dedicated to facilitating those who write from personal experience in a variety of genres. Her recent books include the poetry collection Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, a memoir A New Theology: Turning to poetry in a time of grief, and Writing Personal Essays: Shaping and Sharing Personal Experience.
She lives and writes, teaches and gardens in Port Townsend, Washington.