Poem Hunter
(1948 / OVER 400 POEMS SERVED! !)


I thought I was alone
On the farm, the one
Where we had our commune
So long ago, and where
I'd finally broken down,
Till I just sat, day after day
In the livingroom closet
Or out in the milk room
Of the old barn.

But when you appear
And ask if I'll work for you,
I say I will. You look trustworthy
In your red flannel shirt
With your greased black hair
And 40 year-old's good looks.

You demonstrate
How to do the jobs
By starting them yourself,
Then letting me take over.

Buckling yourself in
To a newly painted
Yellow-gold chairlift,
You paint in what would be
An awkward position otherwise,
Part-way up the barn wall
Above a length of unused
Three-foot concrete pipeline.

Next, using a sort of power-drill,
You grind away caked oil and dirt
From a big fixture
Of metal shelves of tools.

I take over each job
As soon as you show me how,
And I'm able to do them
Just as smoothly as you.

Seeing myself in action,
I'm becoming thrilled
To realize I'm not stupid
The way my father
Used to say I was
Every time we moved
Furniture together
For his business,
When I was a child.

I can do anything
I'm patiently shown!

My Teacher,
You're giving me the power,
You're giving me the tools

To free myself
From the caked,
Grimy shelves
Of my own past.

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