Cucumber Summer

Every morning at eight
We braved bees upon yellow flowers,
Learning soon that bees don’t sting when distracted by need.

But our need was as great: money to spend, to be frivolous for once.
We two kids would make a thousand bucks—or maybe just a hundred each
So we’d know the thrill of plenty just for once.

For Daddy had planted cucumbers,
Fast growing
In demand.
He would work his day job and then try farming on our land.

We dreamed away our fortune every night
So in morning
We were nimbler and faster
Furiously flicking off bees
Until cucumbers called for picking.

Finally off to San-Del to sell our souls for perfect pickles,
Only to hear
Too big
Too small
Too crooked
Too straight
Tossed out
Tossed salad
Tossed dreams on the ground
In a heap.
A crop gone flat
A goal gone fallow.

Daddy handed us a five at the end of the summer
Because we had worked so hard
And deserved something for ourselves.

But shame stung his face,
For a poor man’s disgraces
Are the things he can’t buy for his children.

Hard work doesn’t always pay,
But it always makes you harder: Forevermore,
I could look at cold cash with cold eyes
And walk away.