Claude Clawson and sister Edith picking berries

Whenever I’m lonesome
for Grandpa and the most old days
I take his stiff blue
overalls out of the closet
Stroke the old leather man-shoes
asleep in their box
and smell the straw fedora mark
of a gentleman farmer—
I pass on the smelly pipe.
Why can’t you be here?
I pick up your ancient homemade pail,
With the coat-hanger strap and
the punched out holes.
Susan Ei-Zalon picking berriesA tin coffee-can, really.
It’s empty with promise
Like all promises…but
it’s time to leave the sun and the birch and the lake and the sand
It’s time to pass the peach orchard
and the frightful curly sumac
They’re busy being velvety, both of them.
It’s time to go into the deeper woods
once logging trails for a different harvest
It’s time to find the sacred, secret patch
and just pick
Don’t tell no one now where ‘tis.
Plunk they go
Plunk they go
As the tin rings
until the bottom is covered
Grandpa is satisfied
and the world feels
right again.

  • Susan Ei-Zalon