The farm wife examines her Mennonite roots

June 26, 2014

They’re the riddle in my garden
           What has eyes but cannot see?
Like a stone, they fit my hand
            as I turn their other cheek.
With love but no regrets,
            I mash them into mounds
or whip them, scallop them,
           dice them for rivel soup.
Cancer could not lessen
           Dad’s affection for them fried.
He tells how they clustered
           like sleigh bells in the sand
where nothing else but winter
           squash and zucchini thrived.
His mother, Fannie Mishler,
           fixed them for every meal
like some cultures live on rice.
           My son-in-law from St. Louis
splashes hot sauce on their skin,
           but I fancy even their pockmarked
faces that shrivel as they age.