Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Khaki Man

What did Daddy do

when he caught his hand
in the cornpicker? His thin
baby finger healed with less
than half a nail. He trimmed it
with a pocket knife sitting
on a blunt-hearted tractor

He was a khaki man,
in shirt, pants and plastic
panama hat that stood up
to storms.

He classified the trees
and lay on cold ground pointing
to constellations he learned navigating
to war-time ports.

In hot July he drank russet tea
from a Mason jar and breathed in—
herbicide from the weed sprayer.

He toured his last lima
field, felt the wadded sod and
fretted for rain. He died
wearing a diaper in his
granddaughter’s bedroom,
blind to the blue dot
wallpaper Crayolaed
with corn stalks
and brown beetle bugs.

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