Poem: Shady Grove

Shady Grove

Something about these

Electric, ocean-breezy, air-conditioned California summers is

Too easy and not easy enough.

We might all fly south for the summer,

Where it’s quiet but for crickets and hymn-singing,

To a house with a porch all around,

And a screen door that slams properly not-quite-shut,

And ice cubes that clink in a pitcher of tea—

Brewed, not grown in the sun like a corn stalk—

Sweet like the smell of a snowball bush.

“Are you hot, sugar? It stays cool and dark in Granny’s room,

And you can lie down a while.

Or else get a hat and Grandpa’ll take you down to the cemetery

And tell you about the tombstones.”

(Generations in red East Texas earth.)

“I thought we’d have cantaloupe for dessert this evening;

No sense turning the oven on. These smelled so good at the fruit stand.”

And in my all-electric kitchen I turn on

The oven. Outside it’s a hundred and two,

And I almost bought some cantaloupe at the supermarket,

But didn’t have the heart, here.

Lisa Bolin Hawkins (1982)

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