Produced by Maine Poetry Central and Dennis Camire

This week’s poem, by Claire Hersom, explores the deep sense of connection many Mainers feel with their departed loved ones via the land all of them have worked and cherished.

 

Norman Lee

A family farm memory, Pittston Maine

By Claire Hersom

 

If he got his hands into the soil in the upper field

long enough, deep enough, it was almost

like he could touch them again,

feel them growing,

seeping into him, their vines

traveling up through his feet,

to his groin, wrapping around his heart,

traveling up his throat, into his head.

They would stay there,

not lost on the wind up off the third field,

or buried in the dapple gray’s grave out behind

the barn, not shoved into the glove box

of the old Model A. They would walk

when he moved his feet, the plaid

thrown over his shoulder, the wool

hunting socks pulled up to the calf,

with his longies tucked in.

 

That’s how he thought of them,

as thermal underwear, ribbed and white

soft to touch, double stitched for wear,

lying right against him when he laid

on his pillow and dreamed all the dreams

he’d ever had; right on his knees with him

when he prayed all the prayers he’d ever had,

none of this being cut off to float in the world

alone, he’d just pull them on, up over him

and go about his day with their double knit

easy to wash cotton arms around him.

 

 Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]


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