a revision of an earlier piece
After Grandmother died,
Aunt Lora Mae moved in, matriarch-
duty to maintain the house and the children-
To achieve the desired mouthfeel-
silky velvet smooth-
in a carrot puree,
one must remove the fibrous core.
Crinkled photos of a smiling boy
disguise the prickly white cotton bolls,
bloody finger picked,
the lawn manicured with sewing scissors.
Daddy said he was lucky to get out-
not very many did.
The simplest approach is to cut away,
shaving arcs of flesh from the sunburst core,
but the blade is straight, and the carrot round–
no arc strips all the flesh away-
and thriftiness is a virtue.
Years later, Aunt Lora Mae, spinster, came to live with us,
fed me caramel apples and popcorn balls-
secret sugars kitchen hidden-
yet cat-eyed stern looks linger on my tongue.
But split the core, slice the diameter,
angle the knife just so, and out –
the core pops clean-
pockmarks where roots reached:
a tale of growth and underground life.
When Lora Mae lay in her casket,
it was a warm January day, and Joe-
disheveled, perhaps drunk-
burst in, bumbling
“Muriel! I’ll always love you!”
Aunt Lora Mae (Muriel) had been a bride.