Reluctant Heir


The son sways back and forth
inside the tractor’s shadow,
follows its furrows up
the steep brown grades.
His father, sweating in
a blanket of cabin heat,
barks above engine noise.
The son cannot hear
but obeys anyway,
trudging through the motions,
the reluctant seed
fearful of being planted
like the next row of corn.

At night, they sit out
on the veranda,
the old man whittling
dusk down with his thoughts,
shaping a vision
of life rising from dead land
with just a little muscle
wrapped in leather skin,
the hard won sweat
of machinery.
The old man speaks.
The son nods on cue.

This will all be his someday.
He’s afraid it will all be him.


Reluctant Heir

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.
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