Anthony Breland – Two Poems

Now She Walks

Now she walks because she’s supposed to
The doctor told her she should
Folks on TV say it’s good for you
They ought to walk more but don’t have time

Where were they when she walked
To the store five miles away
Or to Earl’s on the far side of the hill
To borrow something
Or to church when Albert was too sick to drive

Now she wears walking shoes
She bought in town at the store
the doctor says it’s good on her feet
But they look silly with her polyester print dress
And she never used to wear shoes at all
Except on Sunday

She once walked the rows
Plowing or planting or picking
And that was exercise enough
But they didn’t call it exercise back then
Now they don’t plant anymore
And she has to do something
So now she walks

**

Home Place

I

He agonized for months
Over the offer
It would cost a life’s savings
To buy the old home place

His aunt had passed on
Her son in Arizona
No use for the land or the house
Would give my father a good deal

He called to say he bought it
Worried he acted in haste
Buying an old piece of land
So long away from the farm

We all showed up that Saturday
To take a look at the place
And help him clean it up
Removing the things left behind

Folks stopped by
Aunts and cousins and neighbors
To pick over and claim
As though it were a rummage sale

II

The house sat on six acres
Smaller than his father’s fields
But no suburban lawn
A respectable plot of land

County road fifteen
Takes you right past it
On the way to Heiberger
And the house he was born in

Its faded red barn
White horse on the front
A wooden silhouette
Like a faded postcard

A creek lines the back of the land
He swam in childhood summers
Sharing with thirsty cattle
Their lazy trails still mark the field

III

A season spent as in his youth
Testing himself on this land
No father alive to approve
Nor son with time to come help

He bush hogged the field
And strung barbed wire
Gathered and burned
Planted and painted
And no one to thank but himself

He comes every weekend
To tend the place
Walking the field and checking the barn
Before he will enter the door

Warmth and breath are in this house
Atoning for the still and the cold
Of the house his parents left
And that first season without them

He wants to buy a heifer
Just to keep the field neat
As when this was home
And not the old home place.

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