Tender Is the Night

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Tender Is the Night

The fall corn fields always
had the crisp moon for their heavy

ears and dry stalks to under
hang, and bright tobacco—topped

and suckered—had the humid sun
to pull the tar from its

green leaves. But overalled boys
in South Georgia held title

to nothing but kerosene to fill
their dogtrots with light

in the 1940s, until trucks
and men made good on Roosevelt’s

REA and hauled in the long
creosote poles, day after day,

dug holes, and hoisted the wires
and crosses like Good Friday

soldiers clear-cutting
right-of-ways to sunrise service

on Easter morn. Then the after-
noon bus rides filled

with bets about whose house
was next, until it was yours,

and the porch light glowed with power,
and night could not come

fast enough, and you stood bare-
foot in the hard, dark yard

with toads and chickens, watching
your new life pour from

windows and clapboard chinks,
thinking, Somewhere inside

I will always be
the person I am tonight.

One thought on “Tender Is the Night

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