We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?
We used that.
Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.
Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes
of summer. Dropped in their names.
Added a mint leaf now and then
to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.
Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?
Perfect. And once we had it,
had smelled and tasted the fragrant syrup,
placing the pan on a back burner for keeping,
the sorrow lifted in small ways.
We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared.
We washed that pan.
Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. Although she calls herself a “wandering poet”, she refers to San Antonio as her home. She says a visit to her grandmother in the West Bank village of Sinjil was a life-changing experience. Nye was the recipient of the 2014 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature.