The Woman Downstairs has a calendar tacked to her kitchen wall
Next to the table for one, where she sits by the window
Looks out at the sliver of garden she keeps and
Compares to the pictures of flourishing flowers and herbs
She sees planted with care amid benches and statues in well-tended yards.
Others grow wild along stretches of road
Overlooking the rocks on the seacoast of Maine.
Seasons slip by with the flip of a page.
Each page with a picture.
Under each picture a snippet of lore about Nature after the
Name of the month and the numbers that count out the days.
October’s offering asks: Did you know?
Pumpkins have a heartbeat
Caused by the intake of water
They get from the vine.
Skeptics are invited to
Reach for a stethoscope
And listen to the murmur.
The Woman Downstairs accepts without proof
The beat of the heart of a pumpkin,
Though she might not agree with its cause.
She remembers a saying translated for her
By a lover, a long time ago:
Nobody knows the heart of a pumpkin.
Only the knife knows.
Maggie Martin, author of the poetry chapbook Old Stories, Niobe Press, is a poet, performer, and workshop facilitator who specializes in healing through the practice of poetry. Martin, who makes her home on the bank of the Contoocook River in Henniker, NH, was born in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern PA, and has served as poet in residence at the VA Medical Center there, been a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships in the arts, including two nominations for the Pushcart Prize.