313. After Seeding: May 15

In the old days,
When they’d raised a crop,
Evenings they would sit out,
Like this night.
Tom and Riah could recall
The fields: frothy, overblown,
The weighty bolls
Breathed a fiber mist
That foamed the air.
Tom would watch
As cottonseed, pale streamers,
Spattered Riah,
Starring her dark hair.
They’d sit on the porch,
Sink in earth’s odors.
They would doze.

“Eight years past, recall,
We made our crop?”:
Tom laughed.
It was crazy,
Feeling that, tonight.
So what, if this morning
They had planted?
Tractor’d fairly drowned,
Huge tread sinking, skidding,
In its path.
Poor excuse for soil.
They had clung, so careful,
To the contour–
Only to see blow-dust
Blur their wake.
Plow the beach,
The sea!

“Rain follows the plow”:
Louise leaned back,
Laughed a lazy laugh.
They did, too.
“Aw, hell.” She glanced
Toward the field, “Nothing
But dust.” Shrugging,
She scooped sand:
“What can we say?
It happened.
We were here.”
She stretched milky legs
Along the steps.
“What do you say, Riah?
Gee whiz! Gosh! Thought I
Heard a thunderclap,
Just now.” Faking wonder,
Louise cupped her ear.

She and Tom caught Riah’s
Smile–quick, abashed, it
Filled them with
Delight. “Well,
Seed’s in,” said Riah, “and
Who knows?
It might show.”
Louise groaned aloud.
Riah scolded:
“Fess up!
You think, both of you,
That it might rain–
Might sprout.”

There she had them.
Secret of their hearts,
Their hidden shame:
“It might rain.”
The night air swished
With a gentle tug.

Louise chuckled.
“My Lord!
We’re pathetic!”
With a sweeping gesture–
“Look at this!
Here we sit,
All ready, fingers
Crossed: ‘Dear God,
Please, sir, make
The desert bloom'”–
She coughed,
Caught her breath–
“Pitiful!
We’re the biggest
Suckers–God’s
The carnie, gets our
Nickel, every
Time!” Her foot
Stamped clear through
A rotten stair.

They collapsed in laughter.

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