It Must Have Been

Photo by Julia Sha

It must have been those long walks down country lanes,
     daisies and black-eyed Susans separating dirt path from farmland,
your small hand reaching up and held in your mother’s loving grip
     like a flower just picked. Every now and then

she let you run ahead to throw a clump of soil
     back into the field from which it came,
where a family’s livelihood lay hidden,
     cotton and tobacco crops depending on

the right amount of rain at just the right time.
     Sometimes she let you walk barefoot,
usually nothing dangerous out there to step on,
     broken glass on concrete miles and a world away.

At times she would lift you safely across
     a normally dry creek bed swollen with water flowing
from the wet-weather spring. I wonder what
     she talked to you about during those once or more

weekly trips. Did she tell you that hard work
     and keeping your word were always most important,
even if they didn’t pay? Did she say
     that hard times would come and like Joseph in Egypt

you would have to plan ahead? Whatever it was,
     she must have gotten through.
Maybe she sang songs of joy
     along with songs of sadness,

teaching you to love life and yet beware.
     I think someone said that the only perfect human
tis the one nobody knows, and that’s probably true
     with maybe a few exceptions. Anyway,

that must have been it, those long walks
     down country lanes.

Correction: this poem was originally published online with the wrong title and under the byline of Tricia Gates Brown. Our apologies for the misattribution.

Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Friends Journal has published another poem of his, as have Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Poem, San Pedro River Review, Poetry New Zealand, Spoon River Poetry Review, and WorshipWeb of the Unitarian Universalist Association. He hopes to have a chapbook published sometime in the future.

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