Helen Esther Blum ≈ Two Poems

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SQUASH

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Take the squash for instance; hard green skin,
orange meat within, butternut shape,
yellow landscape. Squash all piled together
taken in before the weather freezes,
green boulders, pattern lines, acorn ridges,
born to be stuffed with mushrooms, wild rice, spice.
 
Take the squash, slice it,
hollow it, remove the seeds to roast, the gut to toast,
or blend squash soup for the group trouping over
for Thanksgiving dinner, the abundance, the dance
of the fruit, the piles of walnuts, pods left to blacken,
the crop of beets pulled from the earth.
 
Take the plums picked,
the apples cored, pick
the trees until the leaves fall
and the house is full
of harvest food for a feast,
enough to store like the squirrels
not in holes, but in freezers,
boxes, root cellars.
 
The jeweled jars you canned line the shelves
like candy, the pies you baked.
Take the pumpkin, scoop it and make soup.
Carve the shell into a skeleton,
trick or treat, enough pies to eat for weeks.
 
But is it enough to last till spring
or will we fast on the last turnips
until we see the green
sprouting from the starved earth
after a dearth of anything to eat
worth praise.
 
It takes the squash, the bevy of butternut,
the acres of acorn, the great hills of gold and green
to save us in the cold, mean season.

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TIME

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If time is a machine
who do you call when it malfunctions,
repeating to infinity
the glass shard moments,
the pain that won’t change
from brass to gold
the green grass that doesn’t grow back
because it lacks the proper
nourishment to flourish?
 
Who do you call when the wall
Of forgetfulness presses into
your scull making time disappear?
It’s memory and the loss of it
that snags time’s works.
 
It is how we create meaning from the
seconds and hours of our life
that is the magic trick,
that transmutes our straw existence
into a golden story
where pain is the fodder for inspiration
and despair is only a veil away
from illumination.
 
We have the power to turn blight
into light, into the flight of
migrating birds, into delight.

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