“In the Blood” by David Welch

David Welch


Even before his father died,
the son had chosen to leave fallow
that of his blood which knew,
and of his sons’ blood
which would have known,
the long view
between the barns and the blessings
of shade and solitude.
Time had moved
beyond those fields, that life,
and his sons should be free
to choose better ones.
They needn’t know
only half-mile neighbors
and borrowing and hedging.
They shouldn’t have to curse
the wet spring, the bottom ground.
They won’t miss the cut-hay itch,
heat that hangs around the eyes,
mending fences always older,
sweat, grease, weeds,
and the screens full of flies
or cottonwood seed.

My father chose
that I should not know soil
that scours the hand
and cleanses,
the solemn mending
of mine and my neighbors’ fences,
the settling in
behind the tractor’s noise and heat,
the horse’s fly chasing quiver,
and the autumnal new moon
relaxing of shoulders.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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