Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Susan Deer Cloud

Photo by Edward S. Gault

Black Lunch Bucket (for Ed Lopez)

It inspires me to write, but I must go to work so I can feed my kids.
I think I will sit in my truck and write in my journal when I get to the jobsite.


January morning. We are emailing, sharing poems
on Sacred Worldwide Web. You tell me a poem of mine
has inspired you to write, but you must go to work so you
can feed your kids. Suddenly, I am one of your kids. I am
back in Catskills, same age as your son, Trin. I am that girl
padding softly out into kitchen dawn, watching her father
brew Eight o' Clock coffee in aluminum drip pot. She
breathes in steamy equatorial fragrance that one day
will be the bittersweet smell of nostalgia. They sit
at Formica table. He sips coffee. Winter light
follows his hand lifting a cup won at summer's carnival.
They have epicanthic eyes, live in America but peer
into each other from Asia. How to explain? It is why
they say nothing, don't have to. They speak
one word, "Goodbye." He trudges out kitchen door
in work clothes washed to translucence, swings black
lunch box like a fist for the endless day to come.

Only years later will that girl find her father's poems
in a shoebox once holding a Christmas gift of work shoes.
Poems from the War, poems addressed to her mother,
his Indian princess, and to their unborn first son –
poems that understood the terrible love a person has
when he might return to his beloved in a closed
coffin draped with an impotent flag. Poems smelling
faintly of new shoes wishing the feet in them would
never have to grow too tired. Poems dreaming
they could dance and not have their backs bowed
by long hours of work plus overtime. When you joke,
"Fuck working, lol," I am your daughter hearing
that revolution in your face that hides so much from me.
But we share green eyes, know the interior emerald forests
of each other and those wilds of rhyme we yearn to sing in.

January night. You email me Jpegs of Trin
sliding down the laughing snow of high pitched
roof, enraptured in his taboo act. Yes, I am one
of your kids. I am that child whose father leaves
his poetry behind so she can fly down the steeps
of life. So he can feed all his children the stars.