Poems and Poetry

A Peasant Supper | A Poem by Roy Pullam

The coal stove
In the little kitchen
Burned hot
A large pan
Of pinto beans
Boiled on the back burner
Sweat poured off
My mother
She took the iron skillet
From the cabinet
The weight so great
She used two hands
The utensil seasoned
From decades of frying
She opened the can
By the stove
Dipping the snow-white lard
With her big spoon
Lading it in the hot pan
She poured the corn meal
The same Martha White
The same flour company
That sponsored the Grand Ole Opry
She listened to
On the radio
Every Friday and Saturday night
The golden corn
Ground rough
Sifting it into the bowl
Saturating it with buttermilk
Then breaking an egg
Scrambling it in the mix
She poured a drop
Into the grease
Satisfied with the sizzle
That proved the readiness
She lifted the bowl
Allowing the ingredients
To freely
Blend with the hot oil
The pone formed
She took the skillet
From the top
Of the stove
Opening the door
Pushing the skillet
To the back
Of the oven
She sat the table
The mismatched dishes
The cheap metal forks
That passed
For her fine dinnerware
We gathered at the table
Mother offered the blessing
Thanking God
For the little
We had to eat
She poured the milk
Into my glass
Our crystal
Once Big Top peanut butter glasses
I broke a slice
Of steaming bread
Allowing the crumble
To slip through my fingers
Into the thick white
Stirring it with my spoon
I drank the milk
Then ate my beans
A true poor man’s dinner
That suited me fine


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