He ventured from home as an innocent lad
unfamiliar with matters urbane.
The son of a sharecropping family had
no experience boarding a train,
but with suitcase of cardboard, his spirit was clad
in the robes of a royal domain.
Younger siblings still sleeping, his mother arose
before daybreak to fix him a meal
that would nourish his muscular frame and expose
all her love in a motion to seal
the uncommon maternal connection that flows
through the hands when devotion is real.
From their caring farewell on the rickety porch,
where she cradled his face in the hands
that had patted out biscuits and planted a torch
in his hunger for knowledge, the strands
between home and each step on his long dusty march
would sustain him through unforeseen lands.
Washing up at the depot, the mirror reflected
two flour-powered palm-printed cheeks, well protected.
Based on a scene from my dad’s memoirs,
Hal Upchurch Chronicles: Into the Unknown
2023 Mary Boren