C. Dale Young
Deep in the fields, the greenish stalks were twice
my height, a forest for one who had not seen
the likes of oaks or birches. Sugar’s vice
hung in the air, its sweetness somewhere between
a pastry and decay. In memory, the cane
opened its arms allowing a boy to escape.
But memory lies so well, the fields of cane
as much a trap as any means of escape.
Too young to wield a machete, far too young,
I vanished down the endless rows of cane,
my mother screaming out for me to stop.
The yard hands hacked out space to plant the young.
For them, what safety there among the cane.
For me, it’s where I learned to beg a man to stop.
C. DALE YOUNG practices medicine full-time. He is the author of four collections of poetry and a novel-in-stories. His fifth collection of poetry will be Prometeo (Four Way Books, 2021). He lives in San Francisco.