Monday, March 9, 2020

YOKEL ( 22 ) ~

Stonemason Credo

Between talking to myself

While walking around

Choosing the right stone

And talking to myself while

Laying the stone as to what

Works right and doesn’t

I have enough company by

Myself not to have you who

Asks kindly if you may help

Back Road Archaeology

Every morning Native ate pancakes —

I would walk the mile north to his farm

To catch a ride with him to work,

Sat while he ate, looked out the

Thick plastic of his kitchen windows,

At the third chair — a plate of pancakes

For his son still in bed, 5:30 a.m.

On the way out the door, pulling

His heavy coat off a nail, Native

Tossed the paper plate onto a year’s

Worth of paper plates on the back porch,

Each licked clean by his dogs

Next month, in April, after half the

Junk has blown away from the farm

He will load what is left into a manure spreader,

Haul it down pasture to the old

Stone foundation where his parents

Once lived, throw it all in

An Old Timer

selling his tools on the lawn —

what pains him the most is

seeing them laid out that way

doing nothing

Chimney Fire

Climbing the roof

With a bucket of sand

Stars above bigger than ever


Some say they’ve moved out.

Gone. None of their kids are

Seen up at the school bus stop,

& I haven’t seen the VW without

Plates on the road, nor Native’s truck.

Gone. Born here, still young, married

& with the two kids, but now gone.

He was working in a garage outside

Of town until he got fired. They

Said he was doing well for himself,

Then he started to drink with the

Boys after work, got home past

Midnight — his wife stopped waiting up —

For months she would borrow a neighbor’s

Phone to call him, whisper pleas.

But now they’re gone. No kids at

The bus stop. Their dogs still prowl

& beg in the village, pick fights, bite.

One of them ate a turkey right off the

Back porch of a bountiful Thanksgiving

Day feast, months ago, before Native’s job

At the garage, before he came home

Drunk or stoned, before they were gone.

It’s still talked about.

I drove by their trailer today.

Place looked dead.

The door stoop was gone.

Bob Arnold