14 May 2012

Dirt Harbor

The rickety cane-backed chair creaks against the back of a blue cotton shirt, damp with sweat and dusty with the soil of freshly plowed bean fields. Tears would wet the sleeves if a man would cry, but the man doesn't cry so the sleeves stay dry and the heart stays wounded – wounded and sore, holding on to a whole lot that a man shouldn't have to face – leastaways not during a year where the beetles have done better than the combine. Combines never complain, and neither do the beetles, but the one cuts and the other cuts and the heart stays sore and wounded and the tears don't come so the sleeve stays dry.

The chairback strains against the cotton. “Martin Weller's having a bypass today. They was gonna' put in another stint, but the surgeon said he's getting' pretty bad so they gotta' do a bypass. Mary don't think he's gonna make it through this one, on account of his health not bein' very good and his heart not bein' none too strong to begin with.”

Hot wind and dry wind and a tired wind laced with generations of sweat and soil – 33 degrees and 90 degrees, and those telling, failing six degrees that always always haunt and always fail – never fail to tell, and the cornbread's always warm. Soft and warm like the land's sweet flowing breast, flowing with tears and hollow like that over-farmed heart of Martin Weller as he lies upon that table and the doctor pounds on his chest and sweats and works and curses like Martin Weller sweated and worked and cursed the land that seemed so hollow and damning; damning his sweat and his curses – folded back upon him and poured into a cup of cool, cool water, a cup of his burning hot blood, dusted and refined and filled with the fine, fine soil. Fine dusty soil of a freshly plowed bean field, fine dusty soil that receives that fine, refined body of Martin Weller and those sleeves would stay dry.

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