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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1244960-Tobacco-Cutting
by hollyb
Rated: ASR · Poetry · Biographical · #1244960
slice of southern farm life
The arguments
started out good-natured
as the morning sun slid its long fingers
through the haze
and pushed it aside.
But the tempers always climbed
as high as the August sun
that hit us like sledgehammers.
Our skin turned red
as the yellowing teepees stretched out behind us.
Inevitably
the men would strip off their shirts
and show their farmer’s tan
And the girls would cater to vanity
and strip down to their tank tops
And someone
would go home that night
with nicotine poisoning

The smaller children learned quickly
to avoid the tempers
and the swinging knives
as they ran down the rows chattering
and dropping sticks two by two.
They would shriek
when they found a tobacco worm
and squish it into an ambier spot
on the bottom of a dusty boot.

At lunch, Missy and I
would sneak off to the creek
to splash in the cold water
because we were too hot
and too tired to eat
and the men would stand around the house
bodies black from the sun
and the dust
and the tobacco gum
and the sweat.
They would smoke
or spit into RC Cans.
We all learned
never to drink from a can
without smelling first
for that bite of wintergreen.

Dark would be falling
as we were poured into the back of pickup trucks
and spilled out at home.

© Copyright 2007 hollyb (hollybrooks at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1244960-Tobacco-Cutting