Taking a new sidewalk home, I smell honeysuckle.
My grandmother swings open her mother’s kitchen window
to shoo out the green stink bugs with a dish towel. My bouquet
of clover and muscadine vines languishes in a soggy tangle in the sink.
My great grandmother smashes honeysuckle with the flat
of an enormous knife I’ve never seen her use before.
The two women laugh and lather my smelly hands in golden goop, the rue
of southeastern Tennessee jellies and cordials.
I never think how they know to smooth out dents and dings in cars
with a rolling pin. I never ask why they refuse to leave the house
without lipstick and a scratched-off lottery ticket and an emergency
needle folded in their favorite aunt’s handkerchief,
white and black and navy thread licked and coaxed through the eye.
I just peel the stems of honeysuckle off my pinkies like strings off bananas
and trust the wisdom glinting off their roughest edges in the sun.
Hannah Silvers is an Atlanta-based writer and editor with a deeply rooted love of both dictionaries and popcorn. Her poetry can be found in Vagabond City Lit, sea foam mag, and a variety of undergraduate publications. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_silvers if you don’t mind a healthy bit of post-modern punctuation.
See another poem in 5.3