Naked (24)

//Naked (24)

Naked (24)

My grandmother,
A nurse by training,
Attended my pneumonia-
Stricken grandfather
In the Winchester, Virginia
Hospital, waiting
Until he was able to
Sit upright without coughing
Before marrying him.

She was also a nudist,
A fact which—
Like for most of us—
Probably titillated
Then soon became routine
To my no-nonsense
Grandfather, up to his elbows 
In tractor grease,
Split knuckles,

The dust of the day
Nursed away
By the clothed
Equally well as the naked.
But I suspect that,
Being a farmer,
He was already privy to
That liberating insight
That razes most walls:

It wasn’t about him.
The same couldn’t be said,
However, for his four
Spinster sisters;
The marriage
Not only came with
A farm, fresh air,
And all the sunshine
In eastern West Virginia,

It also came with a live-in
A Louisa,
A Welford
And an Anne,
Each of whom
Had passed decades
T&A-free for
23.9 hours a day,

And were now
Suddenly greeted
By my grandmother’s
Naked bum, bent
At the oven,
Boobs swinging,
As she set about baking
Cakes each afternoon.
Let’s face it,

It would challenge anyone.
And while my great aunts
Grumbled and griped,
My pragmatic grandfather
Set about being proactive,
Annexing the sunny
East lawn and
Building a shotgun
Kitchen where,

Through one thin wall,
Leb, Louisa, Annie and Waddy
Cooked daily feasts of
Fried chicken,
Spoon bread,
Stewed tomatoes,
Spanish Cream,
While my grandmother,
Twelve inches away,

Crafted pound cakes,
Haloed beauties,
Almost angel food, just,
I’m sure she imagined,
As God intended—
And just
I’m sure my aunts imagined,
As God intended,

By | 2019-10-19T09:56:30-04:00 July 8th, 2019|Farm|4 Comments

About the Author:

Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in the Washington DC area for two decades. Pritchard's books have received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, NPR, and more.


  1. Eliot Brenner July 9, 2019 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever chuckled upon reaching the end of a poem!

    • Forrest Pritchard July 10, 2019 at 3:15 am

      Oh good! Yes, it’s structured to be able to be read 2 ways: numinously, and humorously 🙂

  2. ellen polishuk July 26, 2019 at 9:45 am - Reply

    this could well be my favorite one. Is it really true about your Grandma?? such great imagery.

    • Forrest Pritchard July 26, 2019 at 10:58 am

      All true! I mean, I occasionally take some creative liberties, but foundationally, all of these are based in fact 🙂

Leave a Reply