The Uncles by Sharon Kunde


The corn schwitzes a dizzy 

haze of midges and gnats. 

I ride the grass path 

in a rattling truck of uncles, 

one end of their tough noggins 

stubble rough, the other hugged 

by mesh hats plainspoken 

with pragmatic affiliations: 

John Deere, Dekalb, Pioneer. 

We camp by the crik. Cousins 

weave in and out of the firelight, 

my sister wedges a red guitar 

beneath her arm. The uncles leak cheap 

beer and tan their airsacs with wholesome smoke. 

When the loamy bank shears 

beneath my sneakers, it is an uncle’s 

pan-sized hand that clamps 

my wrist and hoists me up and away 

from the crik’s cold kiss. 

At dawn, a fog of farts 

beads the cab’s windows. 

I eat leathery eggs 

cooked in pig grease. 

My pale little face shines.