Green cactus; Red rock

Green cactus; Red rock
photo by Linda Hoffman Kimball

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jamestown, Jr.

Jamestown, Jr.
by Linda Hoffman Kimball

At the far end of the playground,
Behind the baseball backstop
The miniature settlement thrives.
Twigs, sticks, stones of the right shape,
Leaves, nuts, solid clumps of dirt
Clarify the fields, the common, churchyard
And comprise the tiny dwellings.
Beetles and ants are the pack animals.
The main crop in this new incarnation
is not tobacco (which is wholly inappropriate
for 6th graders).
Instead, the fields produce
Quick growing scallions,
Starts for which made their arduous journey
From the motherland,
in the pocket of a plaid coat on a school bus.
Tall as redwoods,
The mighty onions cast strong shadows
Over the homes, huts and out buildings.
The times are prosperous and peace reigns.
No aristocrats bickering about calluses and manual labor.
No threats over weapons, axes, metal.
No attacks on the natives.
No brutal uprisings.
There are rumors about Pocahontas
But the details are unclear.
Who can bother with gossip when
The roof has just blown off the stables,
An acorn dropped into the water supply,
And the recess bell rings?

When I was in 6th grade, my friend Pam Loresch and I used to spend our outdoor recess time cultivating a miniature community we called Jamestown, Jr.
in the wooded area right behind the baseball diamond by the back border of the playground. Little artsy nerds that we were, this was sublime work and play. Once I added a small log to one wall of a house only to have Pam inform me that it was not a “log” but a dog turd. When the outdoor season was passed, Pam and I harvested the scallions and presented them with great pride to Mr. Satterfield, our 6th grade teacher. Standing right in front of us by the classroom door, he thanked us and let them slip directly into the trashcan conveniently at hand. He had no idea what treasures he’d tossed. I retrieved them from the wastebasket. To this day I have a nub of disappointment about Mr. Satterfield’s blindness to the value of the fruits (or onions) of our labors.

By the way, I’ve decided that going through the whole revision process is clumsy when something is flowing pretty quickly. There must be a way to indicate when I’ve backed up, deleted, & tweaked but I’m finding that if I spend too much time doing all that, I’m writing for reading and not just for writing’s sake. This is all improv anyway.

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