4 1/2 x 7 3/4
Oil on canvas
What Is Spring?
after a short story by Janise Peoples
The afternoon was calm as Mama rocked
the porch swing. Jessie sat beside her. “What
is Spring?” he asked. “The teacher wants to know.
She said to write a poem, Mama, and
to tell her.” Mama pointed to the yard
where zinnias were growing at the fence.
“It isn’t only flowers. Spring is all
about the future. Most of all, it’s life.
She took him to the road and pulled a leaf
of pig weed. “Amaranthus. We could have
the leaves for dinner. Later we could eat
the seeds. The Aztecs built a nation from
this weed along with corn and beans. She showed
how cranes bill stretched its neck and had him smell
the lupine. “Bees will spin the finest gold
from that.” she said. “Your daddy, in the fall,
will harvest just a little bit for us
to dribble on our corn bread but he’ll leave
the bees the rest to see them through the cold.”
A dappled amber sunlight filled the yard.
“Just tell her, Jessie, you are Spring.” She kissed
his head. “It’s time for dinner. Come and help.”