A poem by Wayne Winter

Canning is a woman's past-
time, slicing corn
from cob, stuffing
jars with beans
and herbs. I tame
vegetables, prune
vines, cook peas
in a double boiler.
Food from jars
is domestic in its flavor.

A year ago we married
and bought this house.
He loved its high
walls, the white
fence, its garden pruned
like a kept woman's
hair. He loved the smell
of dill on my hands.

Now in the kitchen, garlic
brines the air, soaks
my skin with flavor.
I save cucumbers and Ruby
Queen beets for pickling,
preserve carrots in glass Ball
Masons. Vegetables line up
in the pantry like cows
in stanchions.

From sealed bay windows
I can see him keep
fields, disc through rows
of corn. I am always
looking through glass
as the sun ripens
waiting for him
to say that I
am as fresh
as when I first
came here, that my lips
are ready to taste.


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