Thursday, October 27, 2016
by Jim Rapp
Len's forty-something steel grey eyes
betrayed little emotion as he watched
the hills surrender to the storm-gorged sky
a sea of soil for thieving rain to snatch.
Frank, the agent from the government,
had left the papers, coded, marked with "X",
for them to sign, even folded the document
and stamped the envelope against neglect.
A sudden gust and gush from heaven, shook the
shanty's roof, increased the torrent racing over
jagged eaves worn thin; a Niagara; an Amazon of
urgent force conveying all before it to the river.
Len's forty-something mind was slow to turn,
and when his forty-something hand clasped
the pencil, he recalled his neighbors' stern
disdain – he'd stand alone if he signed as asked.
But he would sign – if need, alone – mark himself
an innovator, a New Deal pariah, a TVA tinkerer,
a fool for FDR – taking the papers from the shelf,
he'd set in motion defiance of the thieving showers.
At porch's edge he peered, through slack'ning rain,
across the steep ravine, to see old McGreggor waving,
pen and envelope in hand. Not alone, not in vain,
they two, and more, would be the Valley's saving.