Man with a Yellow Pail

Harry Humes

I could almost hear the pail squeaking
in his hand as he walked up the hill
toward a house, maybe his own house.
It was late March, and it was either mallards
or wood frogs quacking from the vernal pond.
I did not know what was in the pail,
dandelions or forsythia or fish worms,
maybe animal guts for some cheerless reading.
The man raised his free arm
into the sky, palm and fingers tilted upwards.
The air smelled like rain pocking dusty weeds,
and the moon floated low in the west,
everything on edge, waiting to spill.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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HARRY HUMES is the author of the poetry collections August Evening with Trumpet (University of Arkansas, 2004), Butterfly Effect (Milkweed, 1999), which was selected by Pattiann Rogers for the National Poetry Series in 1998, and The Bottomland, (University of Arkansas, 1995). His first book of poems, Winter Weeds (University of Missouri, 1983), was the Devins Award selection for 1983. He was a National Endowment to the Arts Poetry Fellow in 1990.