The prompt word today reminded me of this poem I wrote three years ago, and since my sister professed it to be one of her favorites, I’m going to post it again:
In case you think peddlers on wheels are a thing of the past, here’s a photo I took in March, 2017 in La Manzanilla, Mexico.
Hear the clanging pots, the squeaky wheels?
Over the rise comes the peddler’s cart––
horse with head down, pulling the load,
the jolly man just dangling the whip over her flanks.
Pitchers, fry pans, mops and brooms,
a doll for sis and kites for the boys
who run to greet this week’s happening,
hoping that Pa has spare bills in his wallet this time.
Now hear the “Whoa, Nell!” and see Zeke, the peddler,
swing his bent frame down from his high perch,
Ma drying her hands as she emerges from the kitchen door,
sis attached to her skirts, shy but drawn irresistibly from safety
to see the wonders that the peddler draws from his wagon:
penny candies by the jar and safety pins.
Needles, spoons and dime novels.
Cloth for Ma of calico and new boots for Pa.
Rag rugs made by Ma and traded for a bucket
and a wash pan his last trip here
that haven’t sold and so he won’t need more.
Jangly bracelets like the city women wear.
Her brief laugh scoffs at them.
The very idea. But one finger runs them round
before it draws away. And in her eyes
there is a wistfulness we will not see again
for thirty more years, until another wagon
crests the hill and drives away with her,
that look again frozen on her face
The prompt word today was wheel.