Dad said there was no future in farming
so he sent his sons off to bag
groceries, stock produce, flip
burgers while his brother and the bank
carved up the farmland and kept
the white meat. We knew fish
and cattle, rice fields and soybeans.
We knew jeans and family, sunup
to sundown, the names
of the people for whom we worked.
My brother put in thirteen years
on the line before being replaced
by an elsewhere of lower wages,
looser laws. I filled a desk for nearly
a decade before standing in front of one
myself. Once the bank owned our land,
now we don’t even have land
and yet the bank still stands,
its heel on our throats.
C.L. Bledsoe is the author of two poetry collections, _____(Want/Need) and Anthem. A third collection, Riceland, is forthcoming later this year. A chapbook, Goodbye To Noise, is available online. A minichap, Texas, is forthcoming from Mud Luscious Press. His story, “Leaving the Garden,” was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for storySouth‘s Million Writer’s Award. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings. E-mail: clbledsoe[at]gmail.com