Monday, April 27, 2009
The Back Forty Of My Youth
When I was a child growing up in Darfur, my parents forced me to labor in their fields. Every morning Mom packed me a can of tears for lunch before I left to plow the back forty. When she forgot my can opener, I was forced to eat my right leg for nourishment. If I returned for dinner late, or if the oxen had eaten the sacks of weevils I collected for our meal, I was made to sleep on a pile of bones that belonged to the children who came before me. I learned at a young age that gardens were the playgrounds of sadists.
“Why can’t I just spend the summer watching Luke and Laura like NORMAL kids?” I cried. “Has God forsaken me?” While YOU spent the summer by the pool or sailing with your family (I said I’m not bitter), I was not allowed to join you until the overlords were satisfied with my work on their flower beds and infinite rows of vegetables. I’m sorry if I was too tired to play Duck Duck Goose, my friends. My tiny back was broken by 3:00 every summer day, but they never broke my will. That’s how I stayed alive.
I still see the weeds in my dreams. For every two I pull out of the ground, a forest replaces them.
Yesterday I bought flower boxes, seeds and a watering can. I can’t quite explain why I did this. Stockholm Syndrome maybe? Am I identifying with my captors, so that I might BE ONE OF THEM? I can’t be sure. All I know is that I put my father in the ground and now I want something to come up. It is going to work.
Ween – Push Th’ Little Daisies