5 december 2011
The American Dream
They built a Wal-Mart.
Two months after the auction,
three generations of family farm,
I watched with idle hands
as the ground was scoured
by a hulking, hydraulic beast
from an age before time,
all arms and teeth,
tetanus rusted, hawking soot,
scraped back the trees and grass
from the skin of the earth
like a scalded hog,
down to the rock and meat,
the red dirt and raw clay.
The rains came to soothe the wound.
It carried more dirt away,
tender seeds swept into concrete culverts
bound for the river bottom.
Little pebbles and rocks held onto nothing,
soil melting away from around them
like rendered lard from cracklings.
The earth swirled in a dream.
I stood frozen in shock,
unable to stop the bleeding,
my sluggish hands tried grasping
bales of straw, dead brush and logs,
gathering it against my body,
cobwebs to clot the cut.
Then I looked down only to find
that my body was the earth,
the old cow pasture, corn fields,
helplessly watched as my own fingers
gouged like bucket teeth, my flesh
scoured away with each breath,
fluid arms and elbows bent around,
excavator ghosts lunging in hunger,
pushing ribbons of pink sod and grass
from my mottled chest and back before
they poured concrete and laid cinder blocks,
when all I could do was bend over and take it.
They shoved a Wal-Mart up my ass.
from What Makes It Taste Better. Morganton, NC: Maul & Froe Press, 2010.
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