Kin (Pt. 4)
by George Thomas
was a farmer in the sandbox of his youth
tending a herd of plastic cattle that
grazed on alleyway grass and the weeds of
eroding pavement. Come suppertime he
corralled pink monoliths of hogs in
the confines of a picket fence he kept
in his back pocket. He dreamed of being
a farmer and George happens to
mean “agrarian” in Greek but in Chicago
George means factory foreman and
machinist and his father’s father’s father
harvested iron and copper in a junkyard
where he unearthed immigrant woe
beneath wooden streets and
made his nephews believe him when he
said buffalo roamed the corner of
Archer & Ashland yonder.
He grew up and the course of his name
changed with the scenery.
He discovered fire in an abandoned lot
in Englewood when he curiously set an
old couch aflame and his attempt at boosting
a freight train failed when the conductor
chased him away as he ran off with
the lantern that hung from the caboose.
He carried that gaslight South to a barren
sea of soybeans where his Grandfather lived in
an island of fruit trees and insisted the boy
stay lest the city keep him young and forever.
He grew his hair long and kept his troubles
short and let his car speak for him
as he raced through the rural cosmos
in his sixty-four Ford Galaxie.