Alix wipes her tears with the tea towel,
The one that’s seen better years. It was
Gifted as a Christmas present by the in-laws
And their ten-year anniversary had come and gone.
“Yea can’t stop workin’ just cuz someone dies yea know.”
Tough hands furiously dry the kitchy plates with
Ornate swirls etched around the edge. Lipstick
Shades mute when pressed together, a salty taste really is sour.
The view out the kitchen window offered needed comfort.
A pick up sputs across pot-hole dust roads, it grunts
Heavily as it works to keep up with demand, a foot on the pedal,
Like whips on the back of a Clydesdale, whose days in retired
Green pasture, were never to transpire.
John – a simple man- grips the wheel.
“When it’s intangible, people don’t understand it.
We say cousin Elsa died of a broken heart, because
It’s how we explain a sickness we can’t see, son.”
John came back from Princeton in the fall of ’79,
Left the middle of the third semester, back to
West Virginia in the colors of fall, it was not
Complete disenchantment to take over the farm after
Father passed. “Open fields and an open heart” he’d always say.
“Son, I want you to know some of the sickest people
have to work everyday, until they don’t.”
His son focused hard on the time on the dash,
“If your eyes stare long enough, the tears seem
to absorb back inside,” he thought as he swallowed
and didn’t dare take a breath.
‘Yea understand me?’ John pleaded, his voice wavering.
Nothing scares the shit out of you more than your father about to cry.
A spoken reply would have meant a certain detonation of tears,
It was the button to this time-bomb, to which explosion was his greatest fear.
Drones of wind past the pick up were the only breaths taken
Through each sunken pot-hole, their faces braver for town.