The Four-Dimensional Jar

by Connie S.Tettenborn

How does such a small jar
hold so much?
This jar of tomato preserves
is filled with my grandmother
standing over a huge boiling pot.
One spoonful of the not-too-sweet-
with-a-touch-of-lemon sticky spread
smeared onto a piece of toast
contains an entire backyard garden with
more tomatoes than one family can eat.
One bite holds the lessons from
my health-conscious mother, who,
eschewing preservative-laden
grape jelly and white bread,
sent me to school with whole wheat
peanut butter sandwiches dripping
with homemade tomato preserves
from one of grandma’s Mason jars.
Those jars preserved more than
sugar-saturated tomatoes—
Soft, gooey chunks in a thickened
syrup contain a resistance to jaded aging—
the optimism of childhood in an 8-ounce jar.

photo credit: Sydney Riggs