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My wife and I have known each other since the 10th grade and we have 2 children. We've been married over half our lives, I can't imagine it any other way.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mothers Keeper

A Redwing boot rests
On a stump that guards the drive
To a field off County Road 75.
Arms wrapped in muscle
Balance on a denim knee
Steam rising from a ceramic mug
Eyes squinting through mist
At the ocean of dying
Bean stalks stirring
In a gentle wind carrying
Another early morning,
Rising before he’s rested.
He grunts, spits on the ground
And wonders why?

No college, no summers abroad,
Only early rain
And crops too long in the field,
Rotting, dark and useless.
All nighters in the cab of a combine,
Deer darting
Away from the blades that chew
Cobs and stalks,
The fine chafe clinging to his beard.
Spring loans that own
Him and his family.
Fall harvests that rescue
Them, leaving them little
To survive on.

A starling calls
From the branches of a Hackberry
Tree at the edge of the beans
And his father appears
Behind his eyes.

Dads grizzled chin,
White whiskers revealing
Seasons past
In the field and life
Whisper of hard days
And long nights.

Crows feet connecting
His eyes to his
Earned with sweat in scalding sun,
His hat resting
On the seat of his International,
Speak of each past due bill,
Broken plow blade,
And nights watching frost form
On the crops in an early September dawn.

Faded bibs hang
Loosely on his thin frame,
The right knee covered
With a blue patch that hides
A spot worn through.
The same bibs worn to weddings
So money was there for football fees
And gas money for away games.

Dads gray hair stealing
The dark haired stranger
Mother fell for,
Curls slightly under
At the collar of an old flannel shirt.
The cowlick that cocks
To the right still bouncing
With the shake of his shoulders
As a punch line hangs in the air
At the feed store.
Dads pride shining
On the steps of the grain elevator,
Weigh slip in his hand,
As trucks lined up and waited
For their turn on the scales,
Awarded another year on the family farm.
Why? His father called
From the beans and the mist.
Because the earth claims
Us all in the end,
But chooses only a few
To be its keeper.

The answer hanging
In his face,
He wiped the back
Of his hand across his lips,
Turned, climbed to the seat
Of Dad’s International,
Pressed the starter with his toe,
A belch of black rising
From a stack covered by a Folgers can
As the tires pulled
Him into the rows of golden plants.