The Season of Gratitude
Tomatoes overflow the bowl on my counter. More
cling to spindly vines, peach-tinged blush on round
cheeks. Some will brighten to August red. Others
destined for the pickling crock, their hard olive skins
softening in salty brine. This is the time of abundance,
even as the first cool morning breathes out its frost.
Green leaches from the tips of maple leaves revealing
the colors there all along that we simply refused to see.
I am as frenetic as the bees swarming the flowering sedum,
putting away salsas and sauces, jams and fruit butters.
The work is not hard and my thoughts wander
into stark, cold places. My hands stiffen
around a paring knife, peels and cores heaping
into tiny burial mounds in the sink. It is simple
to despair, to let fruit ripen, fall, and rot on the dew
drenched ground. Death will come to all things--
hopes, dreams, apple trees. And still I fill
glass jars, wait for the canner to reach a rolling boil,
my face flush with the last of summer's heat.
--LJ Cohen, September, 2014