The Question


can you keep your

shoulder to the wheel

knowing the harvest is

not for you dressed in flesh

you will reap in the grave

the future you feed may

never feed you

the horse eaters land is gone

the children sold it to

go to the city

their dreams needed

cement would not

grow in the soil

full of rocks & promise

becoming became a

thorn in the basket

life offered they

wanted meat with

the sweet potatoes

so the horse eaters

held on to the land

will you

continue to till the soil

for tomorrows trees

can you see over today’s

demands that tomorrow

will starve without seeds

it demands you point the

way out of no way

clear the path leave the map

see yourself as a cartographer

for things to come growing

out of you needing a place to

stand in the world clear the

mine field so the future can

go forward use a teaspoon

if that’s all you have

some ate horses

to clear the road

for what came after

those who came before

what is coming will

stand on your shoulders

lift your head

empty yourself of all you

were given all you dream

all you are so that they

remember to honor hunger

because hunger calls forth

the honor of labor singing

who you are in the world

what you give the future

how you cleared the path

so that they will keep their

shoulders to the wheel

for what comes next


Photo: Lucy Pettaway, Alabama 2003

From Paul Reeves, photographer unknown-