Humility sells imperfect produce from a roadside stand
Peaches and nectarines with thrip marks
Pears with a bruise below the eye
Apples too small and hard to be considered delicious

I almost drove past but was charmed
By the carefully crafted handpainted sign
My grandfather was a sign painter
Though nothing he painted still exists

These acts of charity of rescue
Make us feel virtuous and thoughtful
But small favors do little
If the rest rot and blister in our uncommon heat

The strawberries seemed puny and misshapen
Until she invited me to taste one
The wild ones are deceptively sweet
Requiring nothing of me except to love them

My dad used to grow these I volunteered
As I held up a tomato to admire it
She gathered six for me to take home
Savor them simply with salt and pepper

A radio from another era played ranchera
A little black box with dials and an antenna
She didn’t choose but welcomed what came next
And seemed glad for a song she hadn’t expected

I noticed the hinges and marveled at the genius
Of a shelter that could be easily folded away
I envied her impermanence and felt heavy
With the weight of my own assumptions

Blushing like a caught thief when she quoted the price
I gave her a twenty both of us knowing
That what I actually owed was far more
Than I could ever possibly afford

Humility never asked me what I could spend
Only if I would eat plums with scarred dark purple skins
And give thanks for the generosity and wisdom of the land
While forsaking an ancestral claim to it as my own

Photo Credit Modern Farmer at