Every year, in late summer,
my grandmother takes
small, red, chokecherries
from the greeny-downs
of the rolling prairie,
and makes jelly.

The berries themselves
are tart and bitter.
You wonder who first
thought to eat them.
But add lots of sugar
and cook it all down,
and you won't wonder
any longer.

It's an odd, beloved flavor
from leaner times
that tempt both
native and new-comer.
Great on toast,
or as pb and j,
it's exotic to those
who don't know it.

But all I remember
is my grandma,
and her sisters,
who stayed in the
kitchen all day,
and made the ruby stuff
that we've all come to love,
and jarred it up,
for another day.