A Day Trip Home by Linda Hughes10 Jan 2018, Posted by Poetry in
A DAY TRIP HOME
He pulled carrots up out of the earth.
The sound of roots letting go— vibrant
in the still afternoon.
Soil lifting with roots,
some thick—some fine as hair.
A sort of placenta.
Loose dirt—falling back to the ground.
Sweetness of carrot scent full in the air.
Crackle of paper bag as it was filled.
Both our roots in this earth.
Years later I will sit in his room
at the VA,
as he lies on his bed,
eyes closed to the world
and wish we had talked.
But listen, My senses were overwhelmed
when I stood with him in the middle of my life
on that land in Oklahoma,
land his father had bought from the Choctaws.
Hear the jackrabbit thudding across the garden.
Cows in the pasture heads bowed,
lips to earth, pulling grass.
Whippoorwill’s unrelenting call from the woods.
Brush of a crow crossing from pecan tree to apple tree.
Water slipping over rocks in the creek.
Silence filled with sound.
Here I knew everything.
I had no questions.
On this land—I am six years old again.
Bare feet busting hot clods of dirt
following him on the same rows
listening to the world.
I wish he had been the dad that sat right down
on that dirt with me, pushed back my hair
asked, “How is it really going?”
“What do you think about, mostly?” “What is your passion?”
“Your favorite color?”
He was not.
He was the dad that worked hard, never swore.
He filled my paper sack to overflow
with food he had grown.
Told me to be safe and waved
as I backed out of the graveled drive.
There is plenty of time.
I think about these things
as he lies on his bed in the VA
curled on his side
like a question mark.
Eyes closed to all
the empty places
About the author:
Linda Hughes‘s work has appeared in Mangrove Review, Art Alliance Broadsides, Art Poems, and Florida Southwest Anthology. She won first place in Poetry at the Peace River Center for Writers. Hughes regularly attends the Poetry Alliance and the SWFL Poets in Ft. Myers. In addition, she studied writing with Anne Marie Macari at the Hermitage in Englewood, Florida. Hughes was a photojournalist for the Sun Herald, a Pulitzer Prize winning news publication.
Art: Your silence speaks to me by Riikka Fransila, Finland, @vintageart_originals