Homeless in Arkansas

From the very beginning I was in love with
the natural world. My nursery rhymes were
wind blowing through treetops, gurgling
streams, the croaking
of bull frogs from pond-side. I sucked

on silky stems of wild mint and crawled
through fragrant fields of strawberries.
Once in awhile I’d help Mother fill a bag
with blackberries or red raspberries
sagging on a fence row. Often we slept

on a blanket under one of the dippers
so close I thought I could touch it
if only my arm were longer. I’d fall
asleep listening to crickets and tree frogs and
an occasional hoot-owl. Others

who had homes sometimes fed us. 
We’d trek over the foothills from one
to another, I a toddler nestled
between Mother’s warm breasts,
not knowing I was poor.

Pat Martin