Son of a Farmer
The farm is not completely gone,
even if the bricks deny it,
and the sidewalks pave over
the feel of heavy shoes on deep soil.
sure they’re the ultimate naysayers,
and the busy airport
would have me believe
there’s only coasts and cities.
But there’s always my fingernails,
the country dirt beneath
that refuses to come clean,
like those death pills
spies secrete somewhere on their bodies.
If the noise, the smoke, get to be too much,
take one of these
and cows report to their stalls for milking,
and fields of yellow corn
two-step with the wind.
Even twenty skyscraper flights up,
I’m only the merest daydream away
from a September’s worth of silos,
bursting with gold dust grain.
The cube is a barn with the door wide open.
The in-tray is a tin mailbox
The company can work me
to the calcium deposits
in my elbows and my knees
but that won’t stop me
taking a moment here and there
to lie back in that porcelain tub,
watch, through skylight,
ravens preening on a high oak bough.
Yes, there’s a report to file
but there’s also eggs to be collected.
And for every backstabber on the job,
there’s a dozen snakes curled up in the woodpile.
Even the red scars of the leather belt stay with me.
The bar, the restaurant, my gorgeous lover,
can’t completely heal the welts.
And the decent raise, the bonus, are much too late
to pay my father’s bankers,
to soothe his anger, mollify his defeat.
So much movement in the city
but nothing can budge him from that last day,
a man with nothing left but grief to farm,
a “Sold” sign jabbed into his chest,
a whole life’s belongings
crumbling beneath the auctioneer’s hammer.
No, the farm is not completely gone
even if new ownership takes over.
The farm is not completely gone
even if it only has this city to show for it.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident of Providence RI , recently published in Penumbra, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves On Pages, and Memory Outside The Head, are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.