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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Original Wisdom


by Lesley-Anne Evans

My grandparents’ kitchen was indelibly turquoise
their laminate countertops hosted black currant jam parties
berries picked, cooked, poured into paraffin topped jars
and plunged into hot water baths to save them

their laminate countertops hosted black currant jam parties
they drove 45 minutes to buy butter from Stony Creek Dairy
and plunged into hot water baths to save them
their house knew them in the dirt cellar he dug by hand

they drove 45 minutes to buy butter from Stony Creek Dairy
they grew beefsteak tomatoes, and seed potatoes,
their house knew them in the dirt cellar he dug by hand
and the walls held sadness when she could not walk again

they grew beefsteak tomatoes, and seed potatoes,
she cheered for the winners each week on Roller Derby
and the walls held sadness when she could not walk again
Grandpa hung clothes on the line, ignoring the dryer

she cheered for the winners each week on Roller Derby
we sat in lawn chairs and laughed at call-in radio
Grandpa hung clothes on the line, ignoring the dryer
she met Haystack Calhoun at a gas station

we sat in lawn chairs and laughed at call-in radio
Sunday dinner was roast beef tender as a woman’s heart
she met Haystack Calhoun at a gas station
I never heard her say renovate, to keep things current

Sunday dinner was roast beef tender as a woman’s heart
we hunted dew worms, and fished in the Grand River
I never heard her say renovate, to keep things current
he built her a wheelchair ramp up to their front door

we hunted dew worms, and fished in the Grand River
Grandpa said interesting things with his hands
he built her a wheelchair ramp up to their front door
he grew an Old Man cactus high as my shoulders

Grandpa said interesting things with his hands
it takes a lot of years to watch cacti flourish
he grew an Old Man cactus high as my shoulders
their house is still there, though the farm is long sold

it takes a lot of years to watch cacti flourish
we found trilliums and arrowheads in the cool summer woods
their house is still there, though the farm is long sold
the hungry world came, in time, to taste us

we found trilliums and arrowheads in the cool summer woods
their laminate countertops hosted black currant jam parties
the hungry world came, in time, to taste us
and we plunged into baptismal tanks to save us.

Header photograph © Charlotte Hamrick.

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