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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Autumn Noelle Hall

Amish Ladyfinger*

A guaranteed two-minute meditation—the blue heat licking around the hopper's edge, the smooth wooden knob rotating in my hand, the maracas-rhythm of steam-swelled kernels tumbling over the turnstile.

the popcorn popper
dad gave to me, hand cranked
like a music box,
filling with the tinny sound
of an old-time talkie

Two decades worth of cabinet dents and oily patina does not dull the pure pleasure of old-school corn popping—or that movie-house smell which brings even the dog running.

calling dad crazy
for his corny popper gift
mom’s idea:
another dress in a size
she’d prefer I wear

Amazing, what fans the flames. How memory’s fire over-blows anger’s smallest kernel. The spite with which we eat to fill the holes gnawed in us.

blowing the lid off
the firework finale
of tiny corn bombs
bursting in air

Note: Amish ladyfinger is a variety of popcorn that has small, tender pearl-like kernels.