NDJ:5 Sheila Felberbaum

Heirloom

“Local Farm Produce” a simple sign proclaims.
Heirloom Tomatoes: Russian Black, German Pink and Candy Stripe.
They much better than regular, have a bite she beckoned,
offering a quartered tomato on a paper plate;
ancient seeds passed on like antique silver.

She looked older than the tomatoes’ lineage
in a used-out kind of way. Wrinkled, like those
dried apple dolls, prematurely aged.
Silver Queen Corn, not much left, only dry ones, she said.
He be back from town with new, come on by later.

Where are you from?
Right here, No Carolina
If you really want to know about me, go down a ways to the Bee-tree.
I was raised in that big old house. Its 100 years old.
Funny thing is the man owned this store took Ma to the hospital.
It was blowing snow like crazy in March 47.
She had me first, then my brother, and five sisters.

Won’t you look in on our jellies!
Home made, afore you go the Highlands!
Mint, raspberry, jalapeno-Vidalia
shining jewels on the shelves.
And cakes baked right in the jars, real good.
Try “Better ‘En Sex Cake” $5.95 each.

We came back, but the new corn never arrived. Her man stayed somewhere, leaving her undone.