In the summer, the house grows hot, so hot
With steaming, stewing pressurized tomatoes
Deep sea green cucumbers in their baths
slowly turning to pickles in the winter.
Okra waiting patiently in a basket for
a turn at the sink,
Green beans sitting on the porch being plucked
away at until their boiling is due.
Once it's July, the whole kitchen floods
with mason jars, clear jars
quarts, half cups, pints all stacked in boxes
My mother assigns me with millions of them
and a single sharp brillo pad in the yard
Plunging my small hands into the jars
I scrub and scrub eager to hand them off to
my mother for approval. This is the task
hated most, readying the old glass banks
for prizes I would choose to never open.
Sometimes, I sneak away and bring back feathers
or plunge my toes instead into the cold hose water.