The Son of a Soldier, a Picker, and Strife

I crush my jubilant jaw

into the succulent crimson, Red Delicious

apple like my ma gave me.

The juices tickle my cheeks,

and bring back a thought of Home

country fried, and country tried.

 

Madison County sharecropping, humble life -

that’s what my brother and I were taught to know.

 

Running around as unbounded youth,

the grove fields became bright battlefields,

orchard fences the white-picket walls of our bunker.

If only for the day, early September sun

poured down on us becoming soldiers

with ripening apples as our sweet munitions.

 

Ma got mad,

but we hardly ever knew;

It made her sad,

but there is so little we could do.

 

The battle in our eyes -

The adventure in our heart -

Perished in another, to whom I’m now

far apart.

 

The reason my ma always held us,

Worked with us, watched us,

Was because these little children, young men,

Were so like her own.

 

To us he was our hero, force behind our games;

To my mom he is a memory, force behind her pain.

 

So we were the sons of a sacrificed soldier,

 an impoverished picker,

   and strife...

     whom grew and ripened in life.

 

-W.B. October

 

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