My mother grew up without them.
But her friend Marsha scooped them
from their dark shells and ate them plain,
without the slightest adornment.

I knew them as condiment, a side dish,  their own salad, 
plucked from Aunt Ruthie’s Thousand Oaks backyard
and chopped in civilized squares,
outshone by the red of diced tomatoes.

Now, their green –grayer than mint yet brighter than olive–
blends into my smoothie, dolloped with whipped cream,
topped by another invention of the gods:
the maraschino cherry, confectionery and strong.

They are, in their unassuming earthiness,
something I emulate,
creamy yet solid,
adaptable to anything.

David Rutiezer