On the way into town,
Sam passed a flock of thirty turkeys.
All sizes and shapes,
wondered what Tennessee had done
to get so many
Rode on in and got Lura her medicine,
had some coffee at the diner with
the farmers gathered to figure things out.
They argued for forty minutes about
whether Billy Joe had got killed
in that old chevy nine or was it ten years ago,
shakin' their heads about his Alice marryin'
that Thompson boy just three months later.
Paul Pickard said, "It was ten years ago,
I remember, cause that was when my tractor
blew a head gasket.
I was in town pickin' it up
when the funeral went by."
"Ja hear about old man Morton's barn.
Burned down day before yesterday."
Alva said, "Yea, that pig he bought from
Seth Miller got loose,
kicked over a can o' gas
just when Morty flicked his cigarette.
Ain't seen that pig since."
"No it wasn't, it was ninety-two,
you can look on his gravestone.
"Shame about the barn.
Say he still can't find the pig?
It was about ready too."
"Lose anything else?"
"Some hay and a few chickens."
"Alice got divorced last year didn't she?"
Sam left on that note'
rode on out to Morton's,
looked at the smoke still risin'
Told him he'd like to help
when he rebuilt.
Morton took his hat off,
rubbed his hand under his nose
where his moustash had been,
and scratched his head as Sam rode off.
On the way back to Lura's
he ran right into that flock of turkeys.
A big ole Tom exploded feathers
across his windshield and into his face,
Sam nearly bought it, that time.
Had to pull off and catch his breath,
get the feathers out of his hair and beard.
Went back and picked it up,
looked it over and stuck it in his saddlebag.
Lura said, "Why, thankee, son,
that'll come in handy, Thanksgivin'."
Sam had himself and all the animals fed by 7:00,
gulped what was left of his coffee
got Joe to load the tools in ol' blue,
and headed out for Morton's farm.
Morton was sittin' on a pile of rough lumber
lookin' at where his barn had been
wonderin' where to get started
when Sam rode up with about eight
other trucks full of farmers
he had recruited at the diner.
Paul Pickerd was on his way
with his John Deere
and a posthole augur.
By 2:30 they'd already set two
rows of posts and some of the beams,
havin' a good time jokin' around,
eatin' all kinds of good stuff
the wives kept bringin' and
drinkin' sweet iced tea or beer.
Morton looked like he would step
on his own tongue tryin' to say thanks,
his eyes wide open, head wagglin'
wonderin' why folks he'd been so mean to
could could be so nice.
Louise and Irene were the only problem,
slowin' everything down
cause even good Christian farm boys
enjoy talkin' to women like that
when they get the chance.
Joe kept lookin' over his shoulder
for that hog nobody'd found yet.
In less than a week they had it all done
Morton called his wife over, said,
"Get out my suit and that good dress,
we're goin' to church, Sunday."
"I'm goin' nil," laughs Louise
"Oh, no!, I can't cover you;
you sure?" asks Joe.
Sam says, "OK, Irene,
let's set 'em...
I hate October,
the end of things.
Leaves pretty for one week,
then brown and gone,
the world goin' to brown and gray...
let's go somewhere, do something."
"Ace of hearts."
"Two of hearts."
Sam finished feeding early on Friday,
got a cup of coffee,
to cold morning sunshine on the porch,
leaned back with his pen,
watched the birds at the feeder,
Cardinals, four or five Chickadees,
a Nuthatch or two upside down on the branch,
everyone scattered by an occasional Blue Jay.
Thought about Joe and Irene,
happy out in the Dragon's Den above the barn.
Thought about Louise,
how she got the poetry,
knew how to be the dance
when the music is right,
all smiles and insights,
thought about the fire
she was buildin' in his gut,
listened to the birds,
wrote this hymn:
Soft sweeping dream
across the water,
eyes flicker and burn
in a dance
that leads somewhere else
deep and dangerous.