The Corner Stand

The Corner Stand

The pick-up’s open tailgate displays
the fruits of our labors – bushel baskets
of fresh-picked sweet corn, Sugar Baby
watermelon, zucchini, yellow squash,
tomatoes, green bell and banana peppers
all arranged in quart containers.

It is unpredictable at the corner stand –
will passersby, hankering for a dozen,
see our shining vegetables, mouths watering
for a taste of straight-from-the-vine
cherry tomatoes, pull in or drive by?

Fishermen steer into the lot towing a boat
off Lake LaDue, a long sunburned afternoon
on the reservoir rewarded with a few Bluegill.
They admire the way we’ve displayed our corn,
tassels up, baskets full, pull over
for a few ears on their way home.

We polish the dirt off cucumbers
til they shine, rake footsteps away
from in front of the stand,
chase the shade of an ancient maple,
turn the ignition and pull forward,
scrape the red awning across dirt.
We straighten the tablecloth.

It is a weekday – the rusted truck bed
does not empty. The sun dips low
behind the hill. We count the number
of cars that do not stop. The red F-150
extended cab with Edison Marine
in tow returns, demands whatever we have left,
no matter the price – there’s a bon fire

down the street – big shindig – dinner’s
a clam bake, family style. We unload
our bushels into brown bags, stack
them in the bed. They write a check
and then they’re off, leave our little stand
in the dust, a slim day suddenly jolly.

We cross the street to the Inn, buy
a couple burgers, French fries and Pepsis,
celebrate our long day at a booth in the bar.
Tomorrow is Saturday; we will pick
two truck beds’ worth, enough
for weekend cook-outs, pool parties,
weddings, baptisms, funerals.
We will feed the masses.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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