Food Stamps

The English settled these fields.
They were forests under Native American stewardship.

A local girl gleaned these fields
from what the massive harvesters left behind.

Centuries ago, she would have gathered acorns
walnuts, chestnuts, blueberries and cherries.

She navigated the raccoons
who ate maize and stepped on dropped kernels.

A dog strayed into the field and barked.
It did not take on the raccoons, outnumbered six to one.

The girl carried a dozen ears in her arms.
It was all she could carry.

The girl came face to face with a native man
who arrived to glean the field too.

There were plenty of ears left behind.
The native man sang a song of the missing trees.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

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