I chop down the leaves, and the nicotine haze makes me dizzy. Others in the field do as I, but these older folks have bigger bodies, more mass to spread out the poison. The field is full of people here to help Mr. Clay, who is ill. As I pile the leaves of burley onto the stake, I recall his amputated toes on the gangrenous foot. I mull over the smell of his room, sweet like the sugar in his blood.
I chop, I pile, I sweat, I sing. Whether God takes Mr. Clay home or leaves him here on this soil, I’ll help take his rescued crop to the trade house.
Machete burley leaves,
Render service for suffering.
This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #146, Fall and Give. This may also be the most North Carolina thing I’ve ever written.
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