224. March 1, 1935

By the shed, she watched
The young ones tumbling–
Playing Injun, tag, and
Skinnier each day,
Still they ran,
Hurling fists of dirt
Across the road.
Drivers sped up–
Think we’d steal their car?–
Or, if the kids shouted,
Merely swore.

Barker waved to her
And dashed away.
His mother thought:
It takes a lot
To die. They look
Thinner, whiter, they
Cough louder, longer,
They play rougher,
Then collapse, and
Wheeze. One day
One will take sick,
Won’t get well.
Not for most–
They’ll hang on
With Relief bread,
By a string….

Like that redhead nurse cracked
When she came: “Can’t have
Bodies in the streets!
If we starve,
The bigwigs trip on stiffs.
Spoils the newsreels.
So they toss us bones.”
Then they both had smiled,
Conspirators. But
The nurse had drove away.

Clouds today. A few drops
Spattered down,
Tattooed smoth dime dents
In puckered dust.
Sky throws bones, too,
She thought, gazing up.
Gray sailed by, serene.
How long
Since an honest rain?
She shrugged, slapped a fly.
Who keeps count? Just
Creep day to day.

Like the hymn, she thought:
Life everlasting.

2 Responses to “224. March 1, 1935”

  1. Grad Says:

    This is great stuff. I am sooo wanting it to rain for them. I can actually feel how parched and dry it all is. “It takes a lot to die.” Wow.

  2. sshaver Says:

    Replied on Welcome Page!

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