1. FIELD

Truck a passel (a poke) of wildling boys

                                            We call ourselves (our pack) the orphan-slaves

Upcountry — loosed from mothers

                                                                   Farmed out for scratch by mamas

Pale (pink-backed) tobacco-crew

                                      Bossed by peeled-stick (breakback) donkey-switch

Tarred cropper-force

                                                                                              Forced cropper-line
Right far afield past Social Knob

                                                                                Dark welty field near Luris

                                      2. BUNKHOUSE

Most nights the boy they called Tynan
suppered us with scrapple from a can. Or some black-eyes
he’d’ve road-begged; a quarter-peck of crowders
scrounged off vines.

The broad back-skin on the tallest boy
   —a (spreading) welt-weave, a lattice.

Last good gloam-minute after work
we’d strip off there in the side-yard, yawping; taking turns
de-tarring      un-burning
arc-aiming cool hose-spray each on each.

Eleven of us / chigger-scritches, scablets.
Eleven of us / none of us clean.

Where the boss of us bore down
on us — our rank of   bedrolls on the floorboards — one and
one and one, eleven of us — ranked sack-beds
on floorboards — boots of — black breath of — the boss

of us bearing down on us — ain’t none
of us (not a one of us) clean.

                                        3. AFTER-ROAD

           And so (the heaving) boys got trucked to CANDY'S STOP
up Hwy. 52 one night and dumped.
More Poems by Atsuro Riley