Monday, July 2, 2012


Topping Tobacco With My Father

In the cool morning we heave flat yellow
stones plucked from red earth into the green bowl
of the cow pond, trampled verge abandoned

with the first electric jolt, minute jots
of vanished life we catch from the corners
of our eyes, dreading the wicked curve of

the topping knife wielded up and down long
hot rows of Burly, a curse for each and
every flower lopped and trammeled under-

foot, sweat a beacon, ravenous insects
buzzing with frustration at the margins,
thwarted by the nicotine miasma

in which we school, swimming to dinner time
and a naked plunge in the branch, neat rows
of brown rib shed water across thin white

haunches, cow licks curling like paint peeling
in ribbons, parting on the sharp blade of
a promise; thumbs neatly sliced, penknife wiped

clean on the bib of your overalls, a
vow to reunite on the other side
of the mountain, certain as sunrise our

thin pale scars will burn hot as we home in.
Children; how could we know love demands a
deeper cut, a blood-letting, earth soaked red? 

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