I have boiled a quantity of beets sufficient
to feed a small Russian village through the winter
I stand at the sink now, peeling them, starting with
the smallest, the size of a plum, it fits so easily
in my palm. Slippery and cool beneath the
The larger ones are harder to peel and I run the edge of a spoon
down trying hard not to gouge but occasionally, I do
and I wonder, can you gouge something gently?
my intentions are so good: I gouge without malice, without aggression.
On the weekends sometimes, we will watch zombie movies
with our teenage daughter
as a way to think obliquely
about the terror of living and dying
there are so many close-ups of eyeballs being gouged out
as if that were the only way to kill a zombie!
I am no zombie expert, but I think there are many ways
to get the job done.
I feel for a moment like I am being watched
and I turn to find my husband, standing there in the doorway
I am aware of how unglamorous I am - my unwashed hair,
an old t-shirt and boxer shorts and flip flops.
He is showered and shaved and smells like “a brisk mountain breeze
and freedom,” or at least that is what the label promises
dear teenage daughter (dear teenage self): this is what a 10-year marriage looks like.
up to your elbows in cold running water, peeling beets, your
fingers stained red. The fans have been running all day and all night
this terrible heat, but finally this morning a break in it
I am making pickled beets. Jars lined up on the countertop
always, the water boiling the steam
rising up from the enormous pot. My friend says: Canning?
Are you going back in time?
Are your churning your own butter?
Are you wearing a bonnet in your horse-drawn carriage?
I laugh but maybe this is about trying to move
backward in time
or maybe just to make time move more slowly, more
gently, not so relentlessly forward
so that as I stand here at the sink, peeling and slicing
I can imagine, for a few moments that I might live forever