Saturday, May 15, 2010

gumbo mud and kudzu

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The old farmer hung back,
as rickety and battered as the
‘50s Allis-Chalmers tractor upon
which he leaned, hunched,
clung, as if the auctioneer's words
might carry him off as well, like
the implements he'd treasured
much of his life, machines upon
which he had toiled and sweated
and which had helped him chisel
out a meager existence in his
40 years on the farm. His wife was
dead now, his children scattered
like the clucking chickens and hissing
ducks, all he had left were memories
and the old homestead, and it was
leaving him bit by bit on the backs
of creaking pickups and low boys
and stuffed into the cavities of shiny
new Cadillacs and Buicks. The cruel
wind had snuck in from the southwest,
stealing a little more soil from the
threadbare farm, swirling and sucking
at tattered curtains still hanging in
the mouths of hazy windows left ajar.
With each piece of his life leaving
down the gravel road, a draining
of life's energies closely followed.
If it could rust like the kudzu-strangled
farm machinery strewn about its yard,
the old farmhouse would certainly
be gumbo mud by now. The decaying
farm equipment, leaving from just
another sad auction, speaks of dreams
lost and lives ended in the quagmire
of delta clay and clutching kudzu.

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