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Dougherty Delano 13 Page Dougherty Delano The Boys Who Go Easily The solstice, the longest day, is good For fishing and weeding. Marilyn's children fish in the sandbox and swing. In "The Longest Day" American GIs splashed Out of the Atlantic like fish rushing to evolve, Keen boys shooting the Germans back Into the pink and yellow of the European map. On this road Marilyn watches the army rise again. The Army recruiter has driven out Like a salesman come to talk farm chemicals. They're easy, these boys from the bottom— Tiny Jarrell, Bob Workman, past highschool pranks, Vaguely mechanical, lured by this man in khaki The color of dust after rain. He leans out his window, then emerges from the car. They're easy, as if they know what they desire, As if they can go anywhere for a woman's slack kissing, As if the damp work here hasn't already failed them. They imagine life with precision, rifles clapped To their shoulders like shotgun barrels Loved and oiled in squirrel season. Silent in the face of authority, They expect this time will be different. Take me, take me, they're bent on leaving, To have the world as they're told it is, Where for everything there's a reason and a time. All this while Marilyn weeds the day lillies, Watches her children force the cat under the porch. Then, as if she could save them down there, She takes their picture, a black and white shot To clarify this recruiter's car, His deliberate grey dread, his clipboard 14 the minnesota review And the cotton clouds sleeping Over the far ignorant ridge where something turns, As if the boys next time won't be so easy. —Boone County, West Virginia Town Living Don't laugh at me because I'm fat, I won't have no mercy for you. When I carried Louie it seemed I wasn't pregnant at all. My husband is a little thing. Four years I was shop steward at a candy factory. I tried not to eat a morsel. Besides, it's trouble if you're caught Munching caramels and turtles. Candy in a box, box upon box down the line, Dark as Chicago soot, white as midwest snow. Now we're back home. He works in the mines As his daddy did. First we lived up Prenter By his mother. His daddy died in '75 Ate up by coal. His ma's been good to the baby, Spoiling him but I needed my own town. We found this house on a Madison hill Halfway black and white, two-story. I have some black women friends. We talk when I chase after the dog. Their men work in the mines or drive trucks Or have no work, a coaltown saga, but they say Their men half expect it, no work, nothing to do. Times I've taken Mrs. Wylie to the store Whose skin is more grey than black. She stops to talk to the salvation Christians; Buys pork necks, oranges, collards. We both buy pinto beans, corn meal, milk powder. Curtis says a strike's coming. Mrs. Wylie offered to pay me for driving her. I said no m'am, we're neighbors and friends. Dougherty Delano 15 The fact is, Mommy, who lives at Blair, said I'd best leave what she calls the colored section. I said the baby has kids to play with. I've a friendly face. I'm neighborly Even if at times they say I'm mean and fat. I reckon I miss my factory job, Vats of sugar and vanilla boiling, Unending storms from grievances, Crews of Mexican women pecking out English, Sweet hot air. But it was too hot in summer, And on your feet all day concrete kills you, And my weight. Sometimes I sit a spell Reading the papers, the daily, the weekly, The radical one the reds sell door to door. Curtis rides home near sunrise, his eyes Blackened sweetly, and while the baby plays We share a roll and coffee before he falls To sleep and my long day starts up— The wash, the groceries...


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