“Peach Jam” by Sara Eddy, Fall Poetry Winner 2018

Sometimes after all the work,
after cutting the cling from the stone
and excising the bruises,
after measuring the pectin
and balancing the tart
lemon with a mountain of sugar–
sometimes still something
goes bad.  The pectin fails
or the peaches turn brown,
or in the final instance
a jar cracks in the boil
and the sweet peaches
swirl out with broken glass
into the canning water.
The peach jam was always
yours; I did the raspberries
with their bright tiny pips
and the dilly beans pickled
with garlic and cayenne and
frustration. I wish
I could have seen it, then:
the swirl of sweetness
and danger, yellow flash
and sticky waste has
its own beauty, its own
polyphony, even if in the end
we pick out the glass,
scrub out the pot,
and start over.

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