I was fit to be tied today.
If a look could kill, then Miss Ellen’d be dead right now,
‘cuz I done give her the closest thing to an evil eye I got.
Well, the backside of her anyway.

Miss Ellen done had herself some company come callin’ today.
Miss June from Cedar Ridge, cousin of that Baker boy live three doors down.
Maebelle,” say Miss Ellen, “bring us a tray.”
She don’t even look at me.
We’ll be in the conservatory.”
And then off they flounced jus’ like that.
Jus’ the way she say it like to drive me crazy.
I don’t rightly know what a conservatory is,
but it sound like some room you go in to be served.
That’s where Miss Ellen go when she want me to serve her.

Nobody I know can spend so much time yackin’ about nothin’.
They’s in there for close on two hours cacklin’ on like broodin’ hens.
Then they come out and Miss Ellen yell my name,
MAE . . . BELLE!”
I rolled my eyes somethin’ fierce ‘fore I come.
Yes, Miss Ellen,” I say, pretty and sweet-like.
Maebelle, go pick some of those lovely tomatoes for Miss June.
Get the nice big red ones. I think four will do.”
Yes’m,” I answered.
I got the garden cutters and headed out to the vegetable garden.

This is my little piece of heaven, this garden.
I got me some big, fat slicing tomatoes.
Some of ‘em over two pounds!
I got beans, long thin stringy beans, and okra and peppas, and carrots.
And I got onions, them sweet, juicy purple kinds.
Each these here plants I sowed from a seed.
An’ I care for ‘em like a mama care for her chile, pamperin’ ‘em.
I talk to ‘em when I’m working the garden.
I tell them stories my mama used to tell me.
I water and weed and till and hoe.
This here is my little piece of heaven.

I pick four red, ripe round balls of love and put ‘em in a small basket.
I hand the parcel to Miss Ellen.
She take if from me and hand it to Miss June.
Oh, my word, “ exclaim Miss June. “I don’t think I have ever seen such large tomatoes!
Yes,” answer Miss Ellen. “They are nice this year.
The garden is lots of hard work, but persistency is the key to success.”
Miss Ellen ain’t never set her foot in the vegetable garden.
How’s she know how much work it is?
I’ve also grown some lovely carrots this year. And okra.
Next time you come for a visit I’ll give you some of them.
Thank you, Ellen,” say Miss June, “such a lovely gift from your own garden!”

I walk back to the kitchen nice and slow,
carryin’ the spent tea tray,
feelin’ the anger rise like water put to boil.
I look back an’ see Miss Ellen biddin’ her friend good-bye
and I give the backside of her a good look.
I do all the hard work and that lazy chatter-box get all the credit.
i cook and serve a meal, she get the compliments.
I do all the work an’ she get all the praise.
Why’s that?
Why there ain’t nobody who say,
My goodness, Maebelle, you grow the best beans this side of the Mississippi.”
Or, “Oo, girl, you can cook, for sure!”
Why nobody thankin’ me for all the work I be doin’?

I’m pushing all these thoughts roun’ and roun’ my brain
like scrambled eggs in the fry pan with the fire up high.
They all dryin’ out and stickin’ in pieces all over the inside o’ my head,
when Miss Ellen walk into the kitchen.

Oh, Maebelle, thank you for the tea.
Those little cakes were divine
You sure can cook!”
She smile at me and then she saunter her way out.
I jus’ stand there and watch the backside of her go
thinkin’ that
jus’ when I be thinkin’ the valley is too wide and too deep,
here she come trying to build a bridge.
Question is, do I wanna cross it?

I take me a deep breath and start to wash the dishes.




Day Twenty-Eight:  Bridges

Write a poem about bridges. A bridge is a powerful metaphor, and when you start looking for bridges in poems, you find them everywhere. Your poem could be about a real bridge or an imaginary or ideal bridge. It could be one you cross every day, or one that simply seems to stand for something larger – for the idea of connection or distance, for the idea of movement and travel and new horizons.

Wow.  This isn’t really a poem.  Poetry prose?  Prosey poetry?  Fail.   🙂
I guess I was thinking about how far we are from each other.  We can be in close proximity physically and yet miles away in thought, culture, outlook.  We need to build bridges all the time.  Sometimes we see the value and importance of bridges, and sometimes it’s too much hard work.
I hope the style of this piece doesn’t put you off.  It is very much conversational.  You need to hear Maebelle in your head.  🙂  Thanks for reading!!!  (Almost finished with NaPoWriMo! Two more days!)