Granddad hired him
right off the train:
barefoot kid in bibs
looking for work.

Ike Clark roadsided
a thousand field lugs
of navel oranges a day,
sled on Christmas mud
with two mules
who knew their business.

I share the story
at a Garden Party in Exeter—
street shut down
for dinner and auction
to raise money
for murals of its history—

while seeing bins, trucks
and forklifts in the field
and men to drive them—
all that capital,
energy and exhaust,

only half-believing
my father’s words
that rush from my mouth.

But waiting for the bus,
I can see the 1950s
Chevrolet pickup loaded
with leafy greens
from the alley
behind the Safeway
to feed a barnyard menagerie
that roamed the orchard
and his open house.
Somewhere out there,
the bathtub
my grandmother gave him
still making whiskey.

                                        for Dick & Pat


One response to “FROM TENNESSEE

  1. Wonderful, keeping momories alive. We need them now, I believe, more than ever

    Liked by 1 person

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