I didn’t intend to stay the night.
The familiar voices of my people
in a warmth I had long forgotten;
echoes of my Father and my Grandfather
in those round Northern Vowels
We talked about things that I forgot I knew;
How much sun the corn needs to grow,
how much rain is just enough,
when to cut the hay and bale it,
when to play hooky and go fishing.
I ask my Uncle if he going hunting this year.
He says, ‘Heck, I’m not dead yet!’ and laughs.
It is like the spring that feeds the well.
We eat fresh strawberries from the patch.
We remind ourselves that rough hands are the honour
of an honest day’s work;
remember how my grandfather came
to build a new life.
And we remember my Father
long into the moonlight
until we have all had our fill.
When it is time to sleep,
I throw back the covers and open the window.
The crickets are chirping in the fields.
How I have missed their song.