Farm Kids


Our neighbor’s slim rag doll of a daughter (not,
we’re told, of his own getting) breathed out: "You’ve got
so many cookbooks!" – each eye a startled O
as it skimmed our kitchen shelves – "And so
much food!" Later, straight-faced, she said her mother
lives now with her new boyfriend in another
county. Hard up for farm jobs, her "Dad" has to drive
60 miles to the factory, getting up at 5
AM to leave them where his folks watch after them
until he gets back home – sometimes 5 PM.

We go for long walks every evening. If we pass
their trailer, they all tumble out shouting, "Snodgrass!
Snodgrass!" The slim, straight-faced one is thought slow
by her teachers. There’s much she’d do well not to know.
The cool offspring of our city friends are driven
to special schools, sports dates, parties, given
phones, computers, cars, the insatiate stuff
that will guarantee they can’t ever get enough.
Our neighbors’ less keen hungers and kinder drives
make sure they’ll make nothing of their lives but lives.

W. D. Snodgrass