1889 – 1905
They were like iron trees!
Hundreds of them!
Poking and piercing their way into the sun-lit sky,
Like moist fingers
Testing the wind direction to the east.
I was born into this Quaker town on Bright Street.
If you take a left from Broadway ,
You will see it
Our little white house with the dormer gables
And the shaded front porch
Where dad and mom sat on hot summer afternoons
Reading the Bible
And knitting my sister’s soft sweaters for winter time.
And we all sipped cold lemonade,
In glasses that twinkled in the sun.
I loved baseball.
And I loved hiking in the hills there
To the east.
Where I hunted squirrels and jackrabbits
With my taut leather sling.
And I kissed Belva there.
Then on the day I died,
I decided to climb one of them,
One of those iron fingers,
One of those hundreds of oil derricks
That sucked black crude from the hollow ground,
There in the eastern hills.
I almost made it to the top that day,
Inching slowly slowly slowly
Up the side wooden ladder,
But I lost my footing nevertheless
And fell to my death at age 16.
And now here I rest
Waiting by this old rotting oak tree,
Here in Clark Cemetery,
Waiting for my bodily resurrection,
And thirsting, forever thirsting
For one more twinkling glass
Of mom’s cold lemonade.