A Red Palm
You're in this dream of cotton plants.
You raise a hoe, swing, and the first weeds
Fall with a sigh. You take another step,
Chop, and the sigh comes again,
Until you yourself are breathing that way
With each step, a sigh that will follow you into town.
That's hours later. The sun is a red blister
Coming up in your palm. Your back is strong,
Young, not yet the broken chair
In an abandoned school of dry spiders.
Dust settles on your forehead, dirt
Smiles under each fingernail.
You chop, step, and by the end of the first row,
You can buy one splendid fish for wife
And three sons. Another row, another fish,
Until you have enough and move on to milk,
Bread, meat. Ten hours and the cupboards creak.
You can rest in the back yard under a tree.
Your hands twitch on your lap,
Not unlike the fish on a pier or the bottom
Of a boat. You drink iced tea. The minutes jerk
It's dusk, now night,
And the lights in your home are on.
That costs money, yellow light
In the kitchen. That's thirty steps,
You say to your hands,
Now shaped into binoculars.
You could raise them to your eyes:
You were a fool in school, now look at you.
You're a giant among cotton plants.
Now you see your oldest boy, also running.
Papa, he says, it's time to come in.
You pull him into your lap
And ask, What's forty times nine?
He knows as well as you, and you smile.
The wind makes peace with the trees,
The stars strike themselves in the dark.
You get up and walk with the sigh of cotton plants.
You go to sleep with a red sun on your palm,
The sore light you see when you first stir in bed.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Red Palm by Gary Soto )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Trees, Joyce Kilmer
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- 'Hope' is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
Poem of the Day
- Season of Laziness, Rimni chakravarty
- There's no tree that won't ever bend, Tanya K.Tuomi
- Dragon is just sleeping, Tanya K.Tuomi
- Impossibility, Tanya K.Tuomi
- An Unemployed Machinist, John Giorno
- C a s t l e ~of~ S p i r i t s..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
- I Change, Rimni chakravarty
- Life Be Too Short For 'o Ruing..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
- Bless You Always, Michael P. McParland
- ' The Misunderstanding Of Poetry..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR