Paper Shell Pecans
I harvested them as a teen summers on our ranch.
I knocked them down, picked them up, took them
to Mom in the kitchen. She packaged them for sale,
easy to shell, easy to sell, fast food from a tree.
I ate some last week, studied the shells for a while,
a long while. My Mom appeared, fully alive and well.
It is so, though she’s been gone years. She’s smiling
at me now, showing me an apron full of pecans.
Mom is gone but she isn’t. She’s here and she’s not.
Mom still struggles. The pecan I placed in her grave
became a tree, a tall paper shell in a cemetery of oaks.
When it’s ready, it sheds its bounty on my Mom.
G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, teaches at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He retires in June, 2016 because his university is closing. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Dead Snakes, Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Verse-Virtual, Eunoia Review and Squawk Back. He can be contacted at email@example.com