planting in a storm

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

the rain was not
of the poetic variety
performing
incidental music on
clay tiled rooftops
of a seaside villa playing
out a springtime gala

no sir, it was a deluge
pounding us
and everything
around us
there
in our backyard

being eleven, as I was,
innocently unaware
immaculately unemployed,
I should have been
tripping on Sugar Smacks and
watching 35 year old
Looney Toons on my Zenith,
slack jawed and content

instead, on that particular
Saturday I was in the
service of my father
ankle deep in mud
trying to mirror his posture
as we bent over rows
copying the way he packed
drenched earth over
the seeds we set
every foot or so

his only answer
to my asking why we had
to do this in the rain was –
“I’m running out of time”

I held no tangible concept of time, neither did I know
exactly what a strike was
I only knew Dad
was home a lot more
than we were used to

he would
“go work the line”
every couple of days or so,
returning in a cloud of sweat,
carrying the stench of the
burn barrel home
as evidence of loyalty
to brethren and cause

alternating between anger
and worry he piddled
around the house
fixing this
cursing that

I can’t remember how long
it lasted now
five weeks or so,
by the time school ended
for the summer, if I were to guess

what I do remember was
planting in a storm

it took me
years
to figure out
why

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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