I’m not you – or – Snapping Green Beans

snapping green beansnapping green beans
into a tin colander
heaping slender
mountains of pinging
it is August
the cotton curtains
cannot keep the 
heat from burning
up the kitchen
slow motion flies
swished off toward the window
the buzzle and shnuzzle
and bouncing
on windows
keeps me perched
the swamp coolers’
trickling racket
attempts to saturate 
a few inches
mold & wet mist
I sit as close to it 
as I am able
smoke ghosts…
dishes in the sink
the scrap pile
you at the island
with overflowing ash trays
I remember you swinging
your legs
when you were happy
calling Ione
to bemoan your shared lot
as farmer’s wives
that’s all
“Don’t quit school!”
you said,
you’ll never go back!!
but I did
and went back
and followed a path mostly mine
I am not you
I can’t settle very well
no white zinfandel
with an ice cube
no cigarette butts
no long muffled winters
or whistling
through my rolled tongue
that was you
living by the syncopation of life
encouraging everyone else to 
change the world
while you were dying
Sweet Jesus!
how I loved and 
worried over you
as if I
were the mama
and you
the child
but not any more
now I care for my own
and follow 
my soul’s incantations
snap green beans
into a bowl
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4 Responses to I’m not you – or – Snapping Green Beans

  1. Laura says:

    I absolutely love this! I know it is primarily about your mom, and you evoked a very strong picture of her here. For me however, it reminded me that every time I snap green beans, I have visions of all of my women ancestors, from my mother on back, who have snapped bean. As I watch my hands picking beans from the colander and snapping off the ends, I imagine that they are the same hands that have prepared countless meals for countless families throughout history. If you don’t mind, I think I will blog about this and link to your poem.

  2. LauraLaura says:

    Oops. I meant this Thursday. 🙂

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