Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Maple Sugaring

Thomas Reynolds


What pan of cornbread
Or pot of black-eyed peas
Didn’t warrant a touch of sweetening?
 
A pinch of maple sugar
Boiled down to syrup
Then to a dried cake
Grainy between fingers.
 
My aunt remembers
A kettle of syrup
Boiling behind the house
Exploding when the fire got too hot.
 
“All that work for nothing,”
she says, seventy years after
still regretting that maple sugar
gone too waste.
 
What girl among those hills
Didn’t look to the sky
And hope for better days?
 
Watch father driving
the team down muddy roads
in pursuit of another dollar?
 
Search for just one more
Egg among the straw,
Enough for breakfast tomorrow?
 
Wander among maples
With the dog trailing behind
To find the sap rising,
 
Draw sweetness even from
that bent, split-trunked scrub
fighting for sustenance
along the river bluff?

___

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Potpourri, Ariga, Strange Horizons, Combat, American Western Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, Ash Canyon Review, and Orphan Leaf Review. Reynolds' two poems, "Wanda's Fried Chicken and "78s," are included in the book Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology.

 

© Thomas Reynolds

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2009