Published: November 5th, 2014
Jason Roland is an author living in Lexington, South Carolina. He is at work on numerous short stories, poems, and has almost finished a novel. His work has also been featured in Untitled, with passengers. When he is not hiding out somewhere reading or writing, he can be found in his vegetable garden growing organic produce, or inside catching up on his DVR
The Sound of Preservation
You start by picking whatever’s ripest. Fill your bushel baskets high and full, take them back home. Cut out bad spots; peel, wash, prepare.
Cover it, smother it in sugar or salt, add some spices, taste it, make sure it’s right; add a little more, taste again: just right. Now boil, bake, blend, pound or parch.
Then test last year’s jars; look them over, no cracks or chips. Stuff the jars as full as you can, tire your hands to the bone, and then fill a few more.
Open the new boxes of lids and bands. Wipe the jar rims dry, place a lid on top and screw on the bands until your hands go numb.
Get your canner out, wash it and fill with water. Put the jars in, be sure they aren’t touching. Get one or two old towels and snake them around each jar where they won’t bump into each other and break when things get to boiling.
Turn the heat on. After a while, you hear them shaking against themselves and the sides of the canner; like ice crystals breaking in your hand.
When they finish, drain the hot water off the best you can, sit the jars on a fresh towel.
Now you wait to hear it, the sound of them sealing; like wet Georgia clay sucking off your boot.
There they go: Suck, suck, suck. Now relax, because that sound is your life for the winter, your very soul contained to quarts and pints.
I Need My Love
I need my love to hold me soft, sweet, tender in the night. I want her to hold me under the covers and whisper her dreams in my ear. The car is broken, the house will soon be gone, neither one of us have jobs. It is irrevocably hopeless.
But, it will be ok. As long as she holds me and I hold her, it will be ok. Let the phone ring, let them knock down the door. Take it all, we don’t need it; just leave the bed and the covers where we can whisper “I need my love,”
The Veg Garden
I spent the summer picking bushels of squash, cucumbers, okra.
I washed the sand from them, renewing their color, there spirit.
I was the one who planted them, who watched them grow into beautiful, bountiful plants.
This is what love means: to take care of something, watch them grow, and help it move along.
The veg garden is not something to play at; it is my child, my dependent.
Give it some love, and it gives it right back to you.
This is what true love means: to give.