The boys on the bridge
The boys sat on the bridge, dangled legs above the water,
a tractor crossing that lifts and rattles, loosely laid with sleepers,
rut tracks between the marshy fields as rough wheels slowly pass,
crossed with bankside bullrushed dikes and scattered lonely sheep,
dagged bottoms up, all black heads down,white teeth to wetted grass.
Fifty’s cotton printed frock skirts mother’s seated lap.
Her hair is tightly bunched and tied in cotton farm scarf wrap.
Her arms enfold and hold me there, as I am quietly sat.
The boys are pulling tiddlers, quick flashing in the sun.
Excited shrieks and sudden shouts drift down the weedy dike.
I see their makeshift rods and lines pull fish up one by one.
I hold my cane with cotton thread and watch my bobbing cork,
and wonder why the boys have fish, and why this boy has none.
Uncle made the fishing gear, made safe for one so young.
Uncle made the fishing gear and thought it would be fun,
so hook and bait were missing, for safety, there was none.
Copyright © Bob Kimmerling | Year Posted 2020
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