The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Naomi Thiers

The Fruit

For my grandfather, Curly Thiers

My buddy Rex had a dinged-up Model AA.
We bumped down anything passed for a road
through Nebraska, by old Pawnee places, 'bout

as far as Denver, taking turns sleeping
in her cab and under newspaper in the bed.
We was pulling to make Salt Lake City by winter

where Rex had a set-up in a copper mine,
but the traveling and eating were hard: few
farmers taking men on, roads fulla

drifters and runaways like us. We had
a winch on that old truck, and she was strong.
We could scare up $5 towing Buicks and Bearcats

stuck in the mud or broke down, but
a week might pass between sightings. Damn
little fruit under the trees by November. The gravy

came when we teamed up with Dwight and Margo,
who found our campfire one night
with a bottle and a Model T runnin' on spit.

I looked at Margo's red hair and curvy legs,
thought about them back roads and saw
instantly how we could prosper. Margo parked

just ahead of a muddy patch, lifted her hood
and stood about looking helpless (Dwight
behind a bush) till a gent pulled over

and got stuck in mud to the running board.
Dwight would stroll up to "help," then—
Looky here!—a truck with a winch drives by.

Sure, we'll pull you out mister.  Five dollars.
Soon we were eating roast chicken and potatoes
every night by a bonfire. New blankets.

That Margo, she was smart, not just pretty.
She taught me some new words. Canny, she'd say,
inventive, that's what you are, Curly. You'll never

haul the load of bricks my Dwight could
but you look sharp and use your head and, sure,
You'll always find the fruit.


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