Ron Stottlemyer

Twyckenham Notes
Issue Fifteen
Spring 2022

Snap Beans

The summer everybody said
I was old enough to pick beans,
my uncle threw me a long sack
as I climbed into the back of
his old blue Ford. In a little bit,
the sun would wink over 
the dark hills that twisted 
along behind as we rattled 
ahead, swinging waves of dust 
over the wire fences. The rows 
of beans were still wet with 
the night's breath, but nobody 
waited to get started. An old 
woman and her boy already 
knelt in rows next to me, so I
started crawling down mine,
pulling thin green fingers of
beans from the stalks, then
turning to stuff handfuls in 
the long bag that dragged 
behind me like a white cocoon. 
When I paused to wipe sweat 
from my eyes near the end
of my row, the old woman 
was already working back 
on her second row. "You just 
have to keep your head down 
and think of something else,"
she said as she pulled her bag 
closer. As I turned back to 
the rest of my row, the first 
weight of a day's work settled 
on me, knees finding their
way into the earth's soft dirt.

Wake-Up Call

Beat-up trailer sagging in weeds
at the end of the gravel lane.

Old Buick, sunlight sprawled
over scuffed rag top, pulled in tight

against the lilac hedge.
Harley, front wheel angled out

toward the two-lane highway,
leather seat wrinkled with dew.

Fuel tank shimmering chrome,
ready to thunder, cough out

morning smoke from its lungs,
heavy metal blasting free

at the red light, throttle wrenched,
pipes shuddering kingdom come.

RON STOTTLEMYER lives in Helena, Montana. After a long career as a professor/scholar, he has returned to his love of writing poetry. His work has appeared in Alabama Literary Review, The Sow’s Ear, The American Journal of Poetry, Streetlight Magazine, Stirring, West Texas Literary Review, Temenos, South Florida Poetry Journal, Rust and Moth, Twyckenham Notes, Split Rock Review, The Worchester Review, and, recently, The Peregrine Journal and The Chattahoochie Review. His poem “Falling” (Twyckenham Notes, Summer 2018), was awarded a Pushcart Prize, appearing in the 2020 edition of the anthology. He’s compiling a manuscript for his debut volume of poems.

Cover image by Adrian Huth.
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