THE MAN WHO BELONGED TO THE SKULL
Seeing the rise in the ground
the farmer plowed through it.
Looking back, he saw skulls,
shattered remnants of history
raked naked by his plow.
He knew about the Quapaws
who had lived on his land
years before he had laid claim to it.
They were gone now and this was his land.
The rows had to be straight,
not allowing for detours around skulls
that belonged to people in another time.
As the farmer plowed he wondered
if those men had a yearning
to see the earth yield up its harvest.
In the long hot days of summer,
did the man who belonged to the skull,
look up at the sky and long for rain
to nourish plants, bent down with drought?
When the rains finally came,
did he give thanks to his gods
and make an offering from the best
of his harvest?
Did his home fire feel good
after a long day in the forest
when the game was too fast
and he was too slow?
Did he love the soil because it fed
his family; the woman he turned to
for comfort and children he could watch grow
like the crops that sprang from his fields?
As the farmer plowed his last rows,
he saw another rise.
Remembering the man who belonged to the skull,
he paused, lifted the plow
and left the ground undisturbed.
Betty Heidelberger, 73, of Lexa, an active Arkansas poet, lists herself as a writer and housewife who is still working. Her e-mail address names her bettypoet. She is a frequent poetry-contest winner, including but not limited to our competitions. She gives her sole source of publication credits as being Grandparents Magazine. Her sign is Aquarius.