Mid-Day Poem, April 25, 2020

The dirt on the head of the mattock

Has been there since who knows when

I don’t think Pawpaw has used it since they moved here

That was before I was born.

But I lift it from the wooden workbench

Just outside his backdoor

And marvel at its age

They don’t make ‘em like this anymore

This skinny, bare-wood handle

The light, narrow blade

Bearing still ancient evidence of primitive industry.

Where from, these warts of soil, brown and yellow

And now fixed on the blade as if burned there in the forge?

Was there some last trip up Ellis Mountain

To dig ramps in the spring, or harvest ginseng in the fall?

Was the old man young then?  Young enough to joke as he walked

Or chase my infant father as he ran ahead?

copyright 2020

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