“cutting greens” by lucille clifton

Made some sauerkraut today with green cabbages, beets, carrots, scallions, and cumin. It’s getting acquainted with itself in 2 crocks on the bookshelf.

& then I remembered this poem. (& then I also found out that lucille clifton has written many books for children (!) and put the first one on my “birthday presents for baby” list.)

cutting greens

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and I taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

— Lucille Clifton

Poem of this weekend (poem of many things) (mine).

This Weekend


One red felt hat three pairs of boots three

pairs of fancy low-but-clicking pairs

of shoes two bikinis one Boy Scout

backpack one pair of light light blue

Levi’s mom jeans one white lacey

t-shirt three slips one long salmon

-colored nightgown one silk periwinkle

top seven pairs of stockings one pair

of socks with flowers on them one pair

of sparkly pink socks one tiny purple

apothecary jar three bandanas one jean

skirt that Jessie from Saved by the Bell

would have worn one black dress given

to a pregnant friend two quarts of pickled

radishes one red dahl maybe two dozen

elderflower heads one busting bag full

of dried wild mint three sunflowers now

blooming four iris stems in a lilac-colored

jar one thousand pieces of Israeli

cous cous one iced coffee in a big red

cup one hay fork two axes one double

-size cast iron griddle three checks

made out to Free Verse Farm twenty

pounds of strawberries two containers

of curried chickpeas one batch of basil

hummus one can of IPA six tins of tea

two tinctures six jars of no-cook

strawberry jam one goal scored

by Germany one three egg omelette

with scapes & onions one black fly bite

one phone call with sis one phone call

with Katie one phone call with dad

one shower two dirty feet four clean

pillowcases and one lightswitch switched—


Hot damn, horseradish (poem & photograph)!

Let me tell you

about a spicy experience

a very spicy experience indeed

when I made pickled horseradish

from thick dirty roots Misha dug up

from our little vineyard in the frontyard

which I washed and scrubbed in the sink

with a round bristled brush and let them soak

in the righthand sink and peeled them with a lefty peeler

and chopped them and threw them in the Cuisinart with salt

and whey and pulsed it pulsed it added water blended it until HOT DIGGETY OUCH

I ran yelling from the stuff when I opened the lid and horseradish slid down

my throat and in through my eyes and cut off my breath and my tears

and cleared my sinuses. Hot damn, not since hot sauce have I been

that spiced outta town. Now the stuff’s in jars, stuff you’d say

you’d never eat and I rarely eat it either but every year

there it is on the seder plate and Geoff from work

tells me you can take a tablespoon of it

with lemon juice to cure an asthma

attack and hey if horseradish

is just out there growing

in your yard all free

and spicy, you’d

jar it, too.




“I swept my trampoline” (poem for a new home) (mine).


The first thing I did today was sweep my trampoline.

This house came with a trampoline. Two, actually. One small one

for porch jumps and one of those huge ones with netting

that many people got sometime in early high school

and then lots of people broke their arms. My neighbor had one

and so did one of my closest friends and we used to play

“Popcorn,” which is when one person sits on the trampoline

and the other person jumps, and the sitting person bounces

like a popping kernel. Or at least I think that’s how it went.


I swept my trampoline and then did many big jumps

in the center of it and some small running jumps around the perimeter

and then a lot of big jumps in the center again

until I was so tired I slipped out and back into my sandals.

I walked, a little breathless, up the slight hill, towards the shed,

touching the apple trees as I went, even the dead one. I looked

for peaches but didn’t find any. In the shed I found the hand trowel

I used later to wrestle horseradish from the ground. Horseradish!

really puts down roots. I dug and dug and found worms

and found the smell of Passover too, and finally gave up and pulled

so hard at the root that when it finally came out I was flung backwards

into the soft mulch. I laughed at myself and the birds kept on scuttling


on the ground. While I was trampoline-ing, Misha was preparing

for his first day of work. At a farm, of course! Well,

a farmstand. He’s going to sell vegetables and bring home

vegetables. I don’t start as a waitress until Saturday

and today I stayed home to make pickles, My First Pickles.

I had no idea what I was doing and my shorts were too short

when I went to go pick up supplies at the country store. Oh,

well. I bought lids and pickling salt and mustard seed

and a butter dish, for our Vermont butter. But before all this


I picked raspberries in the warm sun for a long time,

maybe two hours, I have no idea but I was singing

for most of it, little ditties like “Oh berries you are the gems

the thorny gemstones of the earth and you my little bees

are buzzing with the song of songs of singsong songs LA

About halfway through I spied two frogs to my right

on the shore of our pond, so I had to go over to see them

(I love frogs and always have), and one hopped away

immediately and the other one let me touch it but

when I touched it, it jumped into the water! Of course

it did. I am always trying to befriend the following creatures

that aren’t interested in my friendship: frogs, toads, chipmunks,

grasshoppers, and a cockatiel named Zeke (“Zeke the Beak”)

that we are currently birdsitting. And today I wanted to sit

on top of that damn bird because he sounded his alarm sound

all the damn day because he misses Misha and who the hell

am I, this girl yelling his name all highpitched, trying to be

the cool birdsitter. I got so frustrated with his loudness

that I thought about sticking him in our new dehydrator


but of course I would NEVER ACTUALLY DO THAT. In fact

this was just an excuse to talk about our new dehydrator

which arrived yesterday. It is the mob boss of all dehydrators.

It’s named The Excalibur and it is all black and huge

like a mobster vehicle and you can dehydrate so many fruits

in it at once it’s like a mass fruit juice removal program.

And before doing any of the other things I mentioned

today, what Misha and I did first was eat our first

apple chips and banana chips. But wait, back

to the pickled, the cucumbers. I sliced them

and stuffed them into jars that I boiled

in a pot you could fit two turkeys in and on top

of each jar I placed a piece of grape leaf, which

supposedly ensures pickle crispness. The whole process

took hours, I have no idea, I was so unaware

that when I was finished I noticed there was a package

on the porch that a human being had dropped off.
A human had been on the porch! There aren’t a lot

of human beings around here, and being human here

is the minority, the butterflies are fair and regal rulers

and the birds are busy at their games. With what was left

of cukes I mixed with overripe tomates and made gazpacho.

Now it’s an hour until Misha pulls into the driveway

and I’m drinking a beer and placing it on the table

that Scott and I built together. We named it

“The baby giraffe” because its legs are so long

and made of old stairway banisters, and if it walked

it would walk like a baby giraffe. People I love are all over


my house, but not all over the yard, where I’d like

them to be. Today I envisioned the music festival

we could throw on our property, and how people could bob

in the pond while listening to Dillon or Sean jam

acoustic. It’s strange that I’m not lonely yet, the grapes

outside keep feeding me and the tomatoes volunteer

themselves inside the greenhouse. I’m hoping hard

for visitors. I’m stocking all the shelves with food

in jars and waiting for the chilly drive to town

where I’ll pull up before the train arrives and jump

to see my friends or family getting off, their faces

not accustomed to the rundown railroad town,

but their faces full accustomed to the way

I greet them, yelling, pull them back into my home.