Outside beyond our farmhouse front porch
under the shade of tall walnut trees
I hear the plunk of round green peas
falling into the Tupperware bowls on our laps
making their own percussion music
as our fingers rhythmically
pop the smooth green pods open
and discard the shells, whop, plop
my mother and I sit in lawn chairs
shucking the morning’s harvest of peas.
I can’t remember the specifics
of our talking, chatting,
a mix of conversation and silence
and oh yes my mother hummed
as I often do without knowing
oh so revealing if we had
some recorded snippets
from decades ago.
I imagine we talked
about common daily things
but it’s a stretch to remember.
The tone was peaceful and calm
with the sound of horse and buggy
rolling by, neighbors driving into town perhaps.
I wish she could have shared her wisdom
under this shade tree, just slipped it in
growing out of simplicity, pain, family,
but some words of hers were hidden away
like that white cotton handkerchief most
Mennonite women tuck in their bras
bringing out when needed
to wipe a sweaty brow
or comfort a crying child.
I listen between the lines
to hear her gentle wisdom
hearing it in the silences too.