The yellow Locust Street house, trimmed in brown,
lost its sunshine. Your garden covered,
buried by droppings of winter. Prize tomato vines
of your touch come spring. I remember everything.
The week’s worth of laundry, degreased, after work.
Money passing between family, words unmixed, the invisible
I.O.U. Your savvy frugalality transformed
blights into community rental units.
Quiet working hands of women often go unnoticed.
But my little eyes saw everything.
The splitting of lips and heirs,
shifting silent spaces: mama, grandmamma, crone, and ancestor.
Your land, me conversing, you never tiring of questions.
“Auntie, you picked the wrong tomato,
this one’s still green? Not red like the others?”
“Honey chil’ the green ones be the best.”
Pepper, Salt, Cornmeal, Hot Oil are truth.
I watch, committing it all to memory.
My tongue be scripted paper, cosigning
your recipe, proof that you lived.