Panhandle

The Sound I Did Not Hear

 

 

The summer was hot for my brother and me.

 

only in the 3rd grade, stringy hair, and bone skinny.

 

Sent to help my uncle on his farm in the panhandle

 

we woke in the morning watching the sun rise

 

and fire ants crawl across the back yard picnic table.

 

We spent long hot hours on the screen back porch

 

shelling peas and shucking corn looking at the full baskets.

 

We were children, wanting to play, but could not.

 

Given allowance only enough to buy candy to rot our teeth,

 

we were forced to share the candy beads with others.

 

My brother and I would hide under the wood shingled house

 

where spiders and darkness surrounded the old yard dog escaping the heat.

 

The sun baked the Florida sand between the rows of corn

 

as we trampled quickly so not to stand long enough for our feet to burn.

 

We were children, responding to a situation we did not chose.

 

So cleverly we hid some of the beans that needed shelling into a basket;

 

a basket of hulls already shelled by our tire-sore child-like hand .

 

I will never forget the summer on the panhandle not because

 

of the hard work imposed on us…

 

I will never forget the sound of my brother in the room beside mine.

 

The sound of a belt being taken to him by my uncle without a pause;

 

a sound that made my skin crawl and my ears hurt.

 

Equally I will not forget the sound I did not hear.

 

I did not hear my brother —the sound of never hearing him cry—

 

copyrighted:   CMM  2016

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