Friday, September 7, 2018


Anna (Chalupka) Koziski

Today, I'm sharing a memoir poem about my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather were Polish immigrants who came to America in the early part of the 20th century. Like many immigrants who were peasants, they had a garden and fruit trees and grew much of their own food. Years ago, a childhood image of my Babci preserving tomatoes inspired the following poem:


In the cellar
Babci sits on an old kitchen chair
made new with glossy gray paint.
Wearing an apron blooming with faded flowers,
she leans over the tub of steaming water,
plucks out plump tomatoes,
and peels off the wet, papery skins.

She fills shiny jars with soft red pulp,
stretches on rubber sealers,
presses down moon-round lids,
clicks closed the metal clamps.
She places the jars in a wire basket
and lowers them into a pot of bubbling water to cook.

On wooden shelves in a corner
she stores stewed tomatoes beside rows of pickled beets,
golden peach slices, green piccalilli,
and carrots the color of October pumpkins.

Standing there in late afternoon,
sunlight shining through a small side window,
I see her harvest preserved:
a rainbow glistening in glass.
Babci is keeping summer alive in jars.

Carol has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Beyond Literacy Link.