When I was washing my greens today for dinner, I started picturing a grandmother washing greens with her granddaughter. The daydream took me further with the grandmother and her granddaughter and I saw the elderly woman trying to teach her granddaughter a lesson through the simple acting of washing greens. The message she wanted to get across was that love is easy with the right person. In this time of playing games, and pretending to be someone you’re not to get what you want, she wanted to let her know of the true value of real love.
When I first started composing the poem in my head, I thought I’d focus on the dirt and sand that settles at the bottom of the bowl when you’re cleaning greens. I was going to focus on how so many people settle for the love that’s right there when in actuality that’s the love they should throw out. But I didn’t want to do that poem. I wanted, instead, to focus on two people who truly value each other. Two people who truly love each other. Two people who are there for each other because they want to be with each other. “Just because someone loves you, doesn’t mean they value you.” And in that statement is the world of difference between what some people settle for and what some people fight for. No, fight is the wrong word, because there’s no fight involved with the person who loves you simply because they love you. No, that’s the love you live for. Yeah, I like that better.
Every Saturday afternoon
I’d stand with grandma
in the kitchen to help as she
prepared Sunday evening dinner.
Sunday dinner always included
a pot of greens taken straight
from her garden. After she’d
plucked away all the stems, she’d
call me to come help clean ‘em.
Four hands would hold the pot,
swishing around the hot water
to get rid of all the dirt. Once
grandma shoved the greens
to the side of the pot and showed
me the bottom, & I saw the sand
at the bottom.
That’s why we need four hands,
she told me and smiled. I thought about this,
knowing there was always wisdom
hidden in grandma’s words. I knew
there were times when grandma
didn’t have me to help & I knew
she must have to clean the greens alone.
So I asked about this. Grandma just smiled
again and said ‘hold still girl’
cuz it was my turn to keep the greens
from falling from the pot & into the sink.
I held still not wanting to feel the
smooth, round coolness of the
cooking spoon against my butt.
My mind kept whirling though
wondering why I had to be the one
to help keep the greens from falling.
Why did grandma want my help
doing what could easily be done
Later that day, I saw grandma
on her knees in her garden. She was
pulling out weeds and discarding them.
Every time she pulled one out,
she’d hand it to grandpa
who was right there beside her.
After pulling out the weeds
grandma and grandpa watered
the garden. After dinner that night
grandma washed the dishes &
grandpa dried them. Whenever
he’d look at her, grandma smiled
& touched him on his chin. And then
they’d share a kiss. This was a surprise
to me because after all these years,
I’d think they’d be tired of one another
but later when I asked grandpa,
he told me how grandmother
was his very best friend. “I don’t know
what I’d do without her. She’s
the reason I wake up every morning
& my reason for smiling. And I crave
the touch of her hand as much as I
crave air to breathe.” But grandpa,
I asked, “Don’t you ever get tired
of being so close to her all the time?”
And grandpa just smiled & said
“Loving your grandma is the greatest
gift I’ve ever had. She looks at me
like I’m pure magic & the greatest
thing I’ve ever done is being able to love
her every single day and sharing the magic
of my love.”