A Question for Merrill Kellum

The morning after you sold the farm,
Did you wake early to milk the cows,
And, remembering, simply stand in the dew
In your button up gold sweater
And brown fedora tipped just so
To watch the yellow creep up the oak
In your new neighborhood?

I can hardly believe the only time
I remember of you is the many years
Of your retirement in Meredosia,
Hands on your hips to study sky
And cocklebur fields where we kids
Would play king of the mountain
On construction dirt piles, pushing.

You would puff your cherry tobacco
Pipe on the small concrete patio
Behind your house, announce if the world
Smelled like rain on the way, as if that
Knowledge were all that remained
Of your dairy days. It was enough to plant
A slow seed in me, plucking my socks.

2017

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