By Maxine W. Kumin
The week in August you come home,
adult, professional, aloof,
we roast and carve the fatted calf
—in our case home-grown pig, the chine
garlicked and crisped, the applesauce
hand-pressed. Hand-pressed the greengage wine.
Nothing is cost-effective here.
The peas, the beets, the lettuces
hand sown, are raised to stand apart.
The electric fence ticks like the slow heart
of something we fed and bedded for a year,
then killed with kindness’s one bullet
and paid Jake Mott to do the butchering.
In winter we lure the birds with suet,
thaw lungs and kidneys for the cat.
Darlings, it’s all a circle from the ring
of wire that keeps the raccoons from the corn
to the gouged pine table that we lounge around,
distressed before any of you was born.
Benign and dozy from our gluttonies,
the candles down to stubs, defenses down,
love leaking out unguarded the way
juice dribbles from the fence when grounded
by grass stalks or a forgotten hoe,
how eloquent, how beautiful you seem!
Wearing our gestures, how wise you grow,
ballooning to overfill our space,
the almost-parents of your parents now.
So briefly having you back to measure us
is harder than having let you go.
On Sunday we took Maddy to visit her grandparents in Hanover and they took all of us out to the Lu Hibachi buffet for lunch, where I had teriyaki egg noodles again. She and I stopped at AC Moore, then we all went back to the house for blueberry pie that Paul made with the berries we picked on Saturday.
Here are photos of us Skyping with David's family in L.A. and with Adam and his roommate in Texas, plus my fortune cookie, a bunny and a fledgling bird that live right outside Clair and Cinda's house, us with family, and the 10th New York Cavalry monument beside Hanover Road approaching Gettysburg Battlefield:
We spent the late afternoon talking to relatives on Skype and helping my in-laws with various things, then drove home and stopped at CVS for necessities. We were all still full from lunch so we nibbled on leftovers for dinner while we watched Bones, though Maddy was in and out talking to friends online upstairs.