Early Mornings

Those early mornings came cold
Wrapped in their final darkness so heavy
It was difficult to rise
I would lie there in youthful procrastination
Waiting for the sun to melt my frozen world
Or until my cousins pulled me onto the cold wooden floor
"It's time to get up" "Mama's got breakfast made"
They always did what mama said
The morning air was crisp and thick
Like bacon cooking on the stove
Next to a stack of biscuits
Kneaded from dough prepared the night before
I had planned to work for my uncle all summer
My first job at sixteen…
My uncle was somewhat of an enigma
An anachronism of sort
He chewed beach nut tobacco
That stained his pickup door
And smoked unfiltered cigarettes
Needing no more than one match
He would drink his coffee from a saucer
The cup seemed to always get in his way
And when it came time for making money
He was quite the entrepreneur
Hiring out his trucks to farmers
Moving hay from field to barn
I agreed to work for him that summer
Bucking hay two cents a bale
Fifty bales one dollar
I figured not bad at sixteen….
With the morning sun rising
In the quiet just before dawn
We loaded into the red ford pickup
With the beach nut markings
On the drivers side door
I rode huddled down with a blanket
Finding shelter from the freezing cold
A monster with its swirling rippled fingers
Running down my back slipping up my legs
And pulling on my groin until my nose
Like the tip of an Antarctic glacier,
Protrudes from beneath the blanket A Titanic blue
As the pickup slowed, and the storm waned
We pulled into town, near skid row
The cargo was loaded with hardly a sound
And the pickup sped and the storm waxed strong
I rode huddled down in my artificial womb
Cut off from time dangling in space
Staring into the dark eyes of a migrant
Sitting just inches away
Staring into space with dark eyes
I feared ...
The space in which
I dangled
Could these dark eyes see my lie
That I was working for the summer
Not for my life
Not for my dignity
Not for food
Nor shelter
Just for the summer
The pickup pulled off the main highway
And onto an old wooden bridge
That buckled and snapped
In a slow dull rumble
As it rolled across
Into the hay field
That stretched to the horizon
And as I stood there watching the Sun
Rise up from its sanguineous glow
Driving my hay hooks
Deep into a bale of hay
I knew.. those dark eyes
Could see...

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