Noah Warren




The Tines


My father threw his weight into the helve
and sunk a pitchfork in the mound
of old straw—the tang of rot—my body
was so thin, the muscles were mere
ideas, tender, beautiful, and I thought the tines
of the tool were beautiful too—standing in a dim barn
that the weather roamed through I was stunned
by a reverence for the edges men
wielded, shears, mowers, for the straight lines
they spoke between them, working so steadily, an ache,
because whenever I opened my mouth to speak,
even something trivial, I’m tired,
I’d like to go home
, the world stormed in—
stammering beneath gray eyes, my face broken,
crying—every muscle of my father’s back gathered
as again he lifted, an enormous load, but I
couldn’t watch him,
I was trying to be 
the three tines
that poked through, long, curving up,
as they caught the pale light
and gleamed, as my father staggered
toward the white noon and the wheelbarrow.