Sunday, May 12, 2013


Cutting rhubarb in the rain,
the mottled leaves thick with mud
and slugs, I wonder if these plants,
robust now, will stand another
season in this shaded corner.

If not, next spring my husband
will surprise me bearing rhizomes,
and plant them so my garden
will be as my mother’s, and
her mother’s and, perhaps, all
our mothers’ before.

I’ll slice the stalks into chunks
for pie, mine has strawberries,
though she says berries ruins
the rhubarb; she makes sauce
and eats from the pot, still warm,
spoon clanking against the sides,
a smile trespassing her face.

Tendering these stalks, making the pie,
heralds me a holder of apron
strings, honoring our history
unmarked with words or trophies, and
thus, all the more important.

I wonder how my daughter
will grow her rhubarb.

My mother loves many things, but in the food world one of the things she loves most is rhubarb. I also love the tart fruit, as does my daughter (in the form of pie). Every spring I look for the leaves to emerge from the black, rotten-looking stump of a stem. When they finally pop through the earth, I think of my mom, both of us celebrating spring's arrival.

Happy Mother's Day Mom! And to all the mothers in the world.


1 comment:

  1. Rhubarb was known as thumb after an unfortunate mishap when I was growing up. Just the same all of us, including the brother responsible for its renaming, love it. Thumb and custard was always a treat.
    Thank you for this warm and loving post - and happy mother's days to you too.