on the wild and the house trailer
Just as the mountain started it’s upward slant from Columbus City Road, just above my great-grandmother’s field and catfish pond, just up from the river and all the camp grounds, was our house-trailer, at the end of a steep dirt road, rain-washed and lined with stumps. I lived there my first four years, and it was not squalor or messy or piled thirty crashed yard-cars high.
It was all light, work boots, and rocking chair, my parents in their young, poor, and passionate art, painting, hunting, and making do.
I had a pony, and I helped my daddy feed hogs and goats. We saved our table scraps for the dog, didn’t throw much away.
We planted strawberries in a side field in the sunny cold of early Alabama April. I wore a vest. He had a five-gallon bucket of bream fish, and at the bottom of each dug post-hole, we threw one fish flopping, covered it in black dirt, and then planted strawberries, their heart-shaped leaves, sweet promises.
I didn’t know you all didn’t grow up that way, planting, swinging in a tire, fearing yellow jackets, hearing the wildcat scream down the pines’ megaphone.
I remember off the back was a small porch, where my legs dangled yards above the ground, hanging over the hill toward the river. Daddy used posts of cyprus, and I peeled the bark as it dried, and I held it to my nose, and the sky was flamboyant, all birds on pink, the wind stealing my hair for their nests.
We were all together wild and dependent,
and that was my most free.