Gentle Gold

n k henry

See the boy knelt to the earth, him of it. No telling really where the boy begins, where the earth ends. There under a sky unlimited, and the boy on his knees in the earth. He’s of it, after all, and clutching the soil in each hand. Feels it sift through his fingers like the silken hair of Future Love. His hands smell like the dirt. It ain’t filthy, it’s Life. The boy clutches this earth like he would know it, like he loves it and the soil melts into his hands, into his blood. A present visage to write the future by.

Sure other kids would see the great machines fly about the sky and dream to be in them. Great warbirds and flyboys to fly them and foes to fly them over. Sure there were those who’d turn the leather ball in their hands, feel the threads, knowing them red as any gospel. Whole days bent on swinging for it. Catching it. Smelling the mitt that held it: these were dreams and days and glories writ on pining hearts.

And the boy, he was not so different in that way. He could throw, alright. He could skate too. But there was none like the earth he clutched. To steward it, to see it alive with grains in the wind. To see the beasts roam it for its wealth. These were the visions that built his heart, that turned his boy hands into iron-gripped paws. That shaped a man who read sky and country as well as any great book. A dog-eared world. Blood on a fence post, ball cap dripping sweat from the brim. Slow talk and long work and eyes made narrow by the brutal sun, the frigid winds. As a man he took to poetry, but did he know he was a poem too? Lean years and good years. That Future Love his Lover Wife. Their children raised on that land, and his Lover Wife passed while he yet worked that land.

Elder days now. Ever pains. He stoops now, he shuffles. He gives thanks and tends a garden. A present visage, a history compressed. Hands in the earth, him ever in that midwifery; hands in the earth, potatoes and carrots, he tends them like gentle gold.

n k henry

n k henry doesn’t always beard, but when he does, its all —he rolled in off the mountain but only because he’s ran out of coffee (or books or beats)— ok? He/ him with a sharpie, and this is bad news for your clean surfaces, he’s looking at you, Arborite. Nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, Raw Deluxe. His work routinely intersects myth and mud. Father of two.

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