How Wars Begin
There is a certain skill to making dumps
But most are done where it is best to throw
Things out of the way and hereabouts that
Almost always occurs in old cellar holes and
If you don’t have one the natives tend to toss
Over the bank down to the river. Not exactly
Into the river, more in the crap of brush and
Small trees on the way to the river but stuff
Ends up where we swim anyway. All it takes
Is a good Spring flood and by July you’re
Stepping around planks with spikes, tire
Rims, an old car door. If the river were
Powerful enough it would probably scoop
Up the uncountable junk vehicles at one
Native’s place and send them down to the
Next town who are presently up in arms
That their drinking water is ruined for
10,000 homes on account of our one
Notorious junkyard on the road. But this
River is a mere thread on the map. Most
Times you can wade across its width up
To your waist and keep hiking. Invisibly,
Oils and gas and septic leach into its
Long hair and it’s been this way for years.
Imagine the hair on your own head.
Now go to town officials who say
Their hands are tied. Then talk to Native
Who says he’s doing the best he can.
I remember when the junked field was
Planted for potatoes and you could stand
On one end and think you were seeing the
Milky Way at the far end of the sky.
Back then Native hunted with his father but
Was taught none of the care for farming or
Just the earth. He does what he knows in
Backcountry autobody and mechanics and
Teaches his own boys the same. You can’t
Expect Native to be like all the newcomers.
They all love him when the snow is deep and
He straps on his plow. Or sands their drive.
He has a dump for all the world to see.
Where there are tall maples and oaks
There once was a barn
Nothing left where it was
We really used to like it on this road
Around Christmas time when Sweetheart
Would have the cook stove fired up all day
And in the spirit decide to make Christmas
Cookies for all the neighbors. Back then it
Was a few natives and before the newcomers
Became full-fledged. We spent all day rolling
Out the dough, cutting out figures for the flat
Sheet and when just right sprinkled with green
And red. We then put a dozen or so into a box
And dropped them off. Most folks knew how
To react with that social charm and within
A day or so we got back something like a tree
Ornament or a card but really it was all about
Doing it out of the blue for holiday sake. But
I won’t ever forget one Native family’s reaction
After the initial surprise and attention, was to
Bring us down, special delivery in the power
Wagon and all the family squished in the cab,
A bag of bite-size Mr. Goodbar and Nestlé Crunch.