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Danielle Sellers-lI

How to Shell Pecans


for my daughter



First, gather a crocus sack full of Texas pecans

from your Great-Great Aunt Evie’s tree,

even though her Vidor farm has been sold off

acre by acre. This is where your mother learned

to ride Western, birth kittens, make fudge.

Then, use the chipped bowl fired with chaff

and sunbursts your great-grandma bought

at a yard sale the first year of her second marriage

to drop the shelled meat, chalky and sweet.

To crack the nut, you’ll need your great-grandpa’s

nutcracker shaped from balsa, a naked woman’s body

he bought on leave on the Big Island. This is preferable

to the slip-shod hinged metal rods sold in dollar stores.

Wood has friction. It holds the shell firm. Don’t mind

her breasts, perky as coconuts. It’s true they’ll never sag.

Eventually, yours will look like ricotta

hung from panty hose. Don’t think of it now.

Place its marbled hull between the woman’s thighs,

smack them together. This is how you were made.

Pick the shell from the nut, good and clean.

After a while, your fingers will feel raw.

This is how you’ll know you are alive.