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More Than We Can Sell

May 15, 2012

In ten winters he returns. This time,
he tells me, for good.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“I will show him
how to bake a pie,” I tell my old
arms. But,
xxxxxxxxxx“It’s not pies they want,” he tells
me. So we fill the big pot, again,
again, with barley, wheat, water.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“It’s
more than we can sell,” I say. He laughs.
I show him how to malt the grains, how to
pass the dark liquor through the damp net,
how to check if it’s ready. We fill
every cask and container I have.
He empties my flour box, too, but
I feel no loss, only the comfort
of his being home. And then he leaves
again.
xxxxxxx“It’s more than we can sell,”
I tell the big pot, the pans, the littered kitchen,
the wet flour box (leaking already,
poisoned for flour), and the gallons
and gallons and gallons of brown beer.
By the time I’ve disposed of it all,
he returns with crowds of townsmen and
their women, all thirsty, all unjolly,
unlaughing, my arms vibrating with pain.
He leaves again. Again returns, this time
with a horse and, on a car behind,
a great red hammered pot, big as a house.
I don’t ask where he got it. Or the horse.
Now I bake onion pies only.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“They
go best with beer,” he tells me. And he cuts
the wood and is always there and sometimes
plays a game of hearts with me. And,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”Life is good,”
he tells me, as dark quenches the last bit
of sun and its smoky red-orange light.

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