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.