The name of this entry is Summer Apple Pie with Maple Syrup, Ginger, and Lime. It is the very first thing I have ever baked for the fair, though I have judged many baked goods in the past. How crushing it will be to lose.
My green beans and dahlias did get blue ribbons, though! And at 7:30 this evening my band is playing two sets. Please, please cross your fingers against rain. I do not want a wet violin.
And here's your annual picture of the Harmony Fair, from my first book, Boy Land & Other Poems (Deerbrook Editions, 2004).
The Skillet Toss
Harmony Fair, September 2002
A loose, laughing huddle of women
gathers alongside a swath of packed dirt,
hot children milling underfoot
clutching half-empty cans of soda;
and now husbands drift over, and we
arrive, who don’t throw skillets,
ready to cheer on our friend Tina,
who baby-sits our kids and doesn’t take shit.
Ask the contestants what they’re aiming at
this year, they’ll all say husbands.
Men are proud to have a wife who can
fracture skulls, if she thinks it’s worth her while.
They watch, amused but unsurprised—
married too long to doubt the plain lack
of vanity a high school sweetheart
acquires by forty. Tina practices her swing,
all knees and elbows under the sun;
the crowd watches, relaxed
and easy-tempered in the heat,
last hurrah of a Maine summer:
such weather can’t last; frost on the way:
in this town we never forget January;
so oh, the pleasure now of watching
sweat run down a brown arm,
first arc of a skillet in the heavy air
and the slow rise of dust when it lands:
Applause, laughter; Tina wipes
her forehead and takes aim for the next,
all eyes on her target: invisible Everyman
in the haze, asking for it, his voice
a low grumble of content, like oxen
flicking their tails in the barn—
and just fool enough to turn his back,
bare elbows propped on the fence,
watching a couple of ponies dragtheir burden of concrete across the ring.