Sugar Pumpkins

We’ve taken the automatic blanket down from the high shelf, have broken our old rule to refrain from turning on the heat in the  house before November 1, and all but the nasturtiums have surrendered to the first frost of the season.

It’s time for a poem about pumpkins.

This one was first published in the South Florida Poetry Journal, SoFloPoJo.

 

Sugar Pumpkins

We grew them in raised beds, their vines profuse,
the orange fruit scant. Hard to grow Cucurbita pepo

in a drought season. Still, the six we found shading themselves
under their companion leaves made us think we might grow

enough to feed ourselves all autumn long. The orange globes
sat on the mantel for months, past Thanksgiving,

when we exiled them to the foyer to make room
for Christmas rosemary and holly branches.

Tonight, we choose the largest sugar pumpkin,
carve a hole in the top, scrape out the seeds and strings.

In goes the mixture—rice, grapes, walnuts, onion, celery,
enough cumin to give it some heat.

When it’s baked to a turn, we slice it from the center,
so slender arcs of pumpkin fall into a circle, looking

more like a flower than a squash.  It tastes of pie
and of curry, redolent of the summer earth.