(the author, Jackie, far right, at age depicted in poem)
Settled in Alabama
We plant ourselves in hard, red clay out back.
A dusty game of Jacks we champion
but near mid-morning, turn, as hungry birds
and stand outside our granny’s country store.
We shuffle dirty, bare feet; outstretched hands:
Six howling worshipers at open door
and hanker for an Orange Crush, Moon Pie.
Her checkered oil cloth table later swells:
the smell of steaming, hand-tilled butter-beans.
Her cornfield grows up to the railroad track.
Fried chicken was a staple from her hens
who cluck and peck, roam ’bout without a pen.
I marvel how they simply fed us all.
So many children, grand, with gaping mouth.
No Social nor Security is known;
your option is to work or else you starve.
Late afternoon, we run the mile of road
to meet the city bus brings Granddad home.
And we, his soldiers marching happily
we settle in behind him, spirit free.