Rosie the Riveter Worked on a Farm

by Sarah Krenicki

Your dreams, like your days, are tobacco.
Oceans of green earth and the song of cicadas,
Spine curved over the rows,
hunched, protruding shoulder blades, vertebrae.
You can smell the dirt, can feel
the leaves of the plants rustle in the low breeze –
A bus pulls up to the field’s edge,
its side imploring you to drink Coca-Col;
a sits on the curb halfway between here and Windsor.

The inside smells familiar, stale coffee and unwashed skin.
Women- so many women, faces rosy from the sun,
feet up, jostling, pulling pictures out of pockets, trading news.
Paydays the bus stops for ice cream and war bonds.
Louise asks why you never get a cone.
You lie, say you don’t like iced cream.

But the little kids will have new shoes because of you,
Mother’s still in bed after that last baby and Father-
Your cheeks sting with heat when you see him coming,
stumbling down the sidewalk in a haze of sweat and alcohol.

That night you dream of war and whiskey,
of women with tanned arms who drink coffee.
But mostly, you dream of tobacco.