Greens are Good

by Kristen Abram



               Once, after announcing the title of her poem, “cutting greens,”
               to an audience, Lucille Clifton was met with laughter.


                                                             To that laughter she replied,
                                                             “greens aren’t funny, greens are good.”


Greens are good.
Because I know they are.

‘Cause my grandma said so.
‘Cause collards make a thick
crunch when you bite ‘em
raw out the ground

before they’ve been boiled,
with meaty neck bone
that glisten like knuckles.

I remember
her knuckles after church—curled,
nimble as a switch,

as she clipped off her clip-ons
leaving the impression of
something frivolous.

A soft shadow in her ear.

God is good.

She’d sing as I echoed back,
in the pews, by the stove.
Hymn lingering on my tongue.
The particular taste of devotion,
earthen, unknowable.


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