All summer we waited for the melon to ripen

cradled in the soft ground its girth swelling
in summer’s high heat the melon grew
with the lengthening days stretching 
from inches to feet darkening from jade
to emerald green with the tasseling of the corn

we thumped it, ran our summer-browned hands  
along its smooth cool sides studied 
it while we thinned the carrots shelled the peas 
dug new potatoes from their ever-widening hills    

the melon stopped growing yet its vine meandered 
winding through the corn trailing along the fence, restless  
nights cooled, still we waited pulled the last of the carrots 
gathered corn stalks into sheaves 
the melon left beached in garden sand 

we ran short of waiting Dad pulled his 
pearl-handled knife from the front pocket 
of his overalls rolled the melon a quarter turn
to carve a diamond-shaped plug from its underside    

we peered into the depths of our melon 
past the tough outer skin beyond 
the translucent inner rind to fibers glistening 
with a garnet’s blush, our wait ripened 
to the dream that warm September day.

 
Kathleen Serley

Kathleen Serley

Kathleen Serley, a lifelong Wisconsin resident, enjoys the way retirement has opened her days to poetry. Her poems have been published in The Solitary Plover, Volga River Review, Verse Wisconsin, Red Cedar and Verse and Vision where she won an Artists’ Choice Award.