Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



Immigrant Work

I walked the quarter-mile rows of vines
on September days opening themselves
to a sky uncertain even then,
a lifetime ago, when I left boyhood
too soon for hard labour in the hop yards,
my machete slashing through the heads
of trellised vines and through
the double strings that held them
to the high wire brought down,
my arm tight as the bow
when I would bring the violin
to my chin, ready,
ahead of me the school dropout
twice my size, his long pole
tipped with the metal curl: wire
coming down
or simply
wire down pisshead

I'm walking long sentences
between deserted rows which lead
to more rows
in the niggling breeze,
the emerald green of feathery flowers,
hardly two alike, nettling my bare arms.
Still too young, even so stalking
perfect strokes among
the sweaty fumblings, a place
where I know more than I should
and imagine what I will learn to be

The harvest still coming at summer's end

©Leonard Neufeldt. The Antigonish Review, Vol. 48 (2018).




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