Weeding Beans from Issue 95
The farmers sawed the handles off
the hoes, so down the mile-long rows
we crawled, gloves caked in iron claws.
All down the mile-long rows we fought
with kids from useless little towns.
They wrapped their tennis shoes with tape.
They smoked the bosses’ cigarettes.
All down the mile-long rows we crept,
hurling rocks, insulting mamas,
like ragged soldiers on our knees.
The sunshine beat us half to sleep.
Surrender to the crush of toil.
Surrender to the sun-rubbed, raw
smells of plants. To mud surrender.
To the haze, the heat, to the pain,
forever down the mile-long rows.
The end continues, recedes, and
the weeds come back. And then a cloud.
The wind comes up, northerly, dark.
We straighten. Lightning cracks the sky.
The work bus blows its horn. The fields
shake, stunned, veiled. After all these years,
we’re still retreating through the beans.