Cucumbers and dill don’t mean much
unless you’ve had a childhood filled
with Ball jars lining basement shelves
and a grandmother who made
the best pickles every summer.
My brother and I helped,
all hands filling clear vessels
with small dimpled fruit, white vinegar,
coarse salt and fresh herbs
from a local farm stand.
Crisp and savory might capture the first bite
of those yearly treats of green gold,
but this wouldn’t say enough to describe
A sharp taste spread over our tongues
and lingered on our lips. Breathing
slowed and nothing else mattered,
not the past nor the reality that this ecstasy
couldn’t last forever.
Grandma has been gone a long time
and so has her recipe. For years
my brother and I have searched grocery stores
for something which might come close
to the indelible taste only she could achieve.
We could try to make our own pickles,
but the possibility quickly shape-shifts
into more than the end product, a thing
beyond our capacity to recreate,
even though we know the basic ingredients.
© by Susan T. Moss.
Used with the author’s permission.