artwork: ralph murre
Recipe for Autumn
by Joan Wiese Johannes
You do not need a recipe.
All you need has gathered
in your freezer, on your doorstep,
and on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator
where the bunch of celery, minus
the thin stalk the cookbook called for,
begs you to let it flavor soup.
You do not need to leave home.
In the freezer there are ham hocks boiled
when the price was low
and corn on the cob bought from the farmer
who crumpled your money
into the pocket of his overalls,
making himself richer, making you richer too.
You do not need the market.
Use the potatoes that appeared at the office
next to the sign, Help Yourself,
tomatoes from the picnic table
where your neighbor puts produce
she wants to share,
the purple beans the poet brought you,
and the stray peppers left on your porch.
You do not need to wait.
Even the catsup to thicken and brighten
your broth has settled in the plastic bowl
where your husband poured it after he
knocked the bottle off the pantry shelf.
You do not need a recipe;
all you need is here.
~ first published in Wisconsin Trails