Several years ago, I found myself inexplicably drawn to canning, despite never canning, perhaps because of an unknown thread between my grandma and myself, a thread now materialized through her gift of her water bath canner.
Before I left South Dakota,
Grammy lead me to the basement,
into the laundry room with shelves
of holiday glassware,
assorted kitchen gadgets,
stacked cans of green beans and corn,
and placed in my hands, her water bath canner,
an inky, midnight-blue pot
with white speckles like constellations.
It jostled and rattled in the backseat
on the bumpy roads to Michigan.
How will you ever find time to can in grad school
Isn’t canning a little old-fashioned.
Aren’t you worried about botulism.
My Grammy preserved the produce
my Papa planted
and they had four kids and several jobs between them.
where the rhubarb floated to
the top of the jars,
was my first.
with cherries from forbidden trees
and on-sale raspberries,
was my second.
And so on it boiled.
asparagus, pickles, beets,
applesauce, cherries, peppers, tomatoes,
blueberries, peaches, apples, dandelions.
Every jar, a sugared gift from Grammy.
Jars pulled from the boiling water
in my kitchen, the descendants of the
jars pulled from the boiling water
in Grammy’s kitchen,
shared and preserved.