On near 75 years ago he did his morning chores,
Packed a bag and kicked up what I imagine was a cloud storm of dust
Down that long gravel drive. Straight for St Louis.
Farming wasn’t for me, he told anyone that would listen.
First job he found was being a bouncer at a house of ill repute.
Not long after when the sheen had worn, the story goes
A fella said, You should join the union.
Long days at the wheel, strong arms in the fight.
So he did.
Not long ago, it could have been this day
His granddaughter stood near the mouth of a
Murky wintertime henhouse clucking Woody Guthrie low.
Ancestors, generations, family I never had a chance to know
All move in a big, funny shaped circle.
Look at this. I mean, c’mon. Pockets in a baby sweater. Why?
What’s the point?
He looks up at me, taking a breath, the human bellow.
I am willowing down pattern choices.
The fire catches, I pat the back of my fifth baby,
Clad head to toe in hand wash only woollens.
Just in time I rescue my near burnt bread
It’s daily sponge bubbles at me from the back of the stove.
Trust me, I know how this all looks.
Ridiculous, burdensome, labor intensive.
Know the salt of the earth’s fearsome sting brings
Sweet saturated peace.
Last night the great staring, salty eye of the giant
Lying on it’s back, cursing the heavens
Was the horizon.
Today it is blotted white by the falling sky.
Piling up, heaven on earth