I seem to remember
My grandmother fighting grease on summer mornings
Dodging sputtering bacon fat like a fencer as she made fried green tomatoes
From our little garden the size of a mustard seed
like the kind she wore in a bottle around her neck.
To go with hell hot cornbread and ice cold buttermilk,
Too tangy for a kid’s tongue.
I never understood,
Why she would eat it the bread and milk
Mashed in a glass instead of a bowl.
And I would protest,
And she would tell me:
“My great grandparents ate this from a trough
And the Aunty would come and spray pots of hot foulness,
Into moldy scummy wood troughs that
Hogs and horses drank from.
Splinters would float in that buttermilk and cornbread mush
Half hot as the devil, half cold as angel tears,
But they lived to hold their heads up,
So I could tell you pretty lil’ red thing,
Ain’t nothing wrong with eating from a glass
Cause when you’ve spent 300 years eating from a trough,
That’s a step up in the world.”