Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hear the Wires Sing

by Tom Hatch

These towns are from my childhood
Down from the grapevine north into the valley
Bakersfield, Fresno, Buttonwillow of my trips through
those places telephone poles
Telegraph poles, Burma Shave, a sign fresh squeezed Orange Juice
For miles then it was closed no juice the disappointment
Grabbing my young chi so little optimism faded
The floor board became hotter than my memory could remember
Through the cotton and oil fields
The dry air not stopping heat off the
Road of eating whole juicy tomatoes
Sitting in the shady grass past the culvert
Instead of fresh orange juice
Killing me with all its barrenness
It makes me weep now because it’s OK
The tomatoes were good the river of nostalgia
Then later 7-UP bubbles in the back of my throat
The smell of hay the Mexican workers
Deep valleys on their faces
Hard working field hands holding
Sweated straw hats covering their squinted dark eyes
Hoping for the sun to set into a cool night
You could see it in their posture all over again the next day
Even as a boy my respect for them I hang my head in the heat
I laid those thoughts although they probably never knew it
The coldest water ever, ever came out of the drinking fountains
Next to the Coca Cola machines in all the two pump gas stations
In the San Joaquin as a boy in the shade of 100 degrees
That was a summer a gentle breeze
Listening to the high tension wires sing

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