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Cherries in Winter by Claudette Mork Sigg

Cherries in Winter

by Claudette Mork Sigg

When the fruit came in, my mother went on binges.

She spent the night canning, naked,

in the bright hot kitchen working over the stove.

In the morning she emerged, sanctified

by her love affair with carnelian cherries,

spiced pears, apricots intoxicated in their own scent.

The kitchen clean, she stood in front of rows

of shining glass jars waiting

to be carried down to the basement.

When winter edged the lawns with frost, she filled

our bowls with fat cherries, topped them with cream,

watched us eat. We didn’t know then that each night

she opened a jar, ate a sample, and if she survived

the next day, rationed out to us what she had preserved

so carefully through the long hot nights of summer.

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