Sister in the Groves
In the darkness of an early morning,
In the chill of a tropical winter,
My car trails the work bus
Along narrow, sandy roads.
The bus hauls its cargo of workers
To the orange groves,
To climb ladders,
To pick bushels of fruit.
I am a worker, too,
Driving to school
To teach the children
Of migrant pickers,
To teach the children
Of the owners of the groves.
I am worrying about the children,
And about me,
As I follow the bus.
The bus pulls to the side of the road.
A dark figure appears from the palmettos,
As dawn begins to play in the sky.
I see light falling
On the fullest, round belly.
She must give birth this day!
She pulls herself
Onto the steps of the bus.
She is gone.
What will happen to you this day?
What has happened to our world
To leave us both
So out of joint,
As I teach;
As you pick and give birth?
My Orange Bathing Suit
Me, in my orange bathing suit,
A boyfriend, the quarterback,
Cute and sweet, coal miner’s son;
Kay, tall and lithe, forget her boyfriend’s name,
Only that he occupied a piece of her mind,
On the rocks at the edge of New River, oldest river in North America.
The ancient New River winding its way
Through endless crevices to the Gauley, to the Kanawha,
To the Ohio, and to the Mississippi.
We lay about on boulders, hot from the noon sun
Making its way across the sky
Dragonflies skimmed the eddies.
The sun finding us long enough to burn our fair, young skin.
Free from school, free from parents, free from small town eyes.
Rocks, standing since the ice age, heated our bodies
From beneath, warming us from cold mountain winters.
All around us mountains hovered, covered with huge trees,
The Appalachians, one after endless one.
We thought they would always fill the sky.
Strip mining was just beginning;
Mountain top removal, a horror we could not imagine.
Kay could give her guy her devotion; he preened in it.
I, in my orange bathing suit, only suspected
It was an art, this devotion. I was in love with the sun,
The sky, and my orange bathing suit. We thrived in that history
And did not think to ask that it last forever.
Dreama Frisk has published in Wild Sweet Notes, Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry, Inside Out (Quaker Journal), The Charleston Gazette (WV), and Journal of Virginia Writers, juried for placement at Tamarack (WV arts and crafts center). She graduated from West Virginia University and University of Virginia.
Dreama taught in Florida schools where she also worked with the American Federation of Teachers. In Arlington, Virginia she taught World History to young adults in a special program. She has studied with Marc Harshman, WV poet laureate, and Barbara Kingsolver, and led a writers’ group, Ice Mountain Writers, at Romney, WV where she lived with her husband in a nearby cabin. She lives in Arlington, VA.
Image: Aerial View of Parkersburg, WV, Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons