#8 summer solstice 2012

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The smell and taste of fresh mint will forever remind me of summer and my mother. She loved mint in everything from her drink to her dessert. Tonight I was headed to a potluck dinner and my assignment was to bring dessert. Feeling summery, I thought I'd bring something with mint from the garden.

My father loves to tell the story that one summer night my mother sent him to the store to buy ice cream to go with blueberries. He came home with mint chocolate chip and my mother was furious as she thought that was a terrible combination especially when they had company. It turns out that dad really likes the combination of blueberries and mint chocolate chip.

As I concocted my dessert plan I thought mint and blueberries would be good and maybe I'd get some ice cream (made from coconut milk) and oh, why not have a nice bar of dark chocolate as well. All of a sudden it dawned on me it was a replay of mint chocolate chip with blueberries and mint. But in reality, I ran out of time to go shopping, so we all happily vanquished the dark chocolate and cookies.


All day I've listened to the industry
of a single woodpecker, worrying the catalpa tree

just outside my window. Hard at his task,

his body is a hinge, a door knocker

to the cluttered house of memory in which

I can almost see my mother's face.

She is there, again, beyond the tree,

its slender pods and heart-shaped leaves,

hanging wet sheets on the line -- each one

a thin white screen between us. So insistent

is this woodpecker, I'm sure he must be

looking for something else -- not simply

the beetles and grubs inside, but some other gift

the tree might hold. All day he's been at work,

tireless, making the green hearts flutter.

Natasha Trethewey, Poems, [the newly named poet laureate]

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