He was a writer and a poet
A real writer though if you can understand,
He would bleed words all over the page.
Notebook after bloody notebook.
Piled up on the table and in his wardrobe
And his wife
Would say how he was always writing,
Even when he was supposed to be doing else.
He would journey back to his childhood in his mind
And tell us stories.
To catch the train, he and his sister
(Who was five years older),
Would have to walk across the neighbour’s farm to get to the little platform.
Then they would wave the train down with a flag
And it would puff to a stop so they could climb aboard.
One year, when he was about twelve years old,
Some kids started catching the train to school with them.
They were working on the farm nearby
And they were dirt poor.
These kids had no shoes
And summer spike grass
Or winter frost would attack their feet.
They had black toes and hard horny feet.
The boy, tall and thin, with long crooked teeth
Would get on the train and smile,
Hanging his hands down by his side, he would whistle,
And the kids would gather around him,
There as the train picked up speed and filled their lives with smoke and cold wind
He would tell a story.
The boy’s face would blaze as he spoke
And he would hold people with his words.
The poet would open his eyes after sharing that memory
And, a little sadly, would tell us
no matter how much he practiced and wrote,
He never captured people in the same way
As the poor boy with no shoes.