What is Spring

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.”

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