portion of the artwork for Ken Poyner's poetry
The Gatherer of Children
Ken Poyner

Do not disturb them.
They are waiting for salvation.
Or they are waiting for respite.
Or for lunch.
They are waiting for the devaluation
Of the currency. For youth
To be light and sweet and skipping
And heart beats that are welcomed.
They wait for an explanation.
For forty acres and a mule though
They do not know how large an acre
Can be, or how to drive a mule,
Or how farming becomes industrially
Significant. They wait.
Their heads dip towards their chests
And their clothes open around them
Like field bandages, yielding
One more crop. They wait,
Their breathing no shorter for waiting,
The brilliantly ragged systems that are
Their every day bodies alive
With ennui and exquisite drudgery,
On time, on cue, under budget.
They wait
Exact change stammering cross in their pockets
For the route 7 bus, and a window seat.
They know where it is going
And how long the casual journey takes.
Do not disturb them.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 32 | Spring 2011