The Fruits of Our Labor
I listen to Alejandra sing
She sings traditional Colombian folk ballads,
Sun sears my shoulders and old jeans,
My neck bends over seedlings of arugula
Sifting for tiny weeds with the blade of my hoe.
Out here, time is not a number,
Here conversation crawls with the lone strips of clouds
Across the rim of our massive late-afternoon sky
Where silence and solitude, more precious crops than golden beets
Grow higher than sunflowers and spread like pigweed.
My body roots in the earth and my mind sways,
A tomato vine groping skyward to endless nothing
Twined taut and even by the notes of Alej’s song.
Her lyrics melt into the passion of the language,
Something romantic glistens like the sweat on my forearms.
The sun massages our tired skin,
Whispers soft compliments in our ears.
I turn the key in the blue pickup
Wait for the time to show on the dashboard
Her brown eyes wait for my cue
I smile and start the truck.
We’re halfway out of the field
When Alejandra tells me to stop
“I’m gonna get a melon,”
Then she’s back with a nice round one in her arms.
My elbow rests on the window frame,
Alej slices with the afternoon’s anticipation,
The taste is miles wide, days long,
Her eyes close. I bite again.
I concentrate on the deep orange and the warm nectar
I can only laugh and say “God damn this is so good”
“Hijueputa,” Alejandra echoes through a smile
I thump my palm on the steering wheel,
Throw my head back against the headrest.
She hands me another chunk of melon.
We feast on our afternoon pleasure harvest,
Silence painted with music,
Sweetness powerful and warm
Like the sun and soil to which we
Give ourselves, never do we feel
Charlie Mitchell is a sophomore at Middlbeury College from Beverly, MA. He loves mountains, vegetables, writing and running. He enjoys spending time with his friends and his guitar.