Alabama – 2 (of 10)

(Part 2)

D.G. Sipsey needs the clouds.
He needs them not too often, nor too rarely,
And his wheat and hay and soy all take theirs
In differing proportions. Like his dad,
And his dad’s dad, he farms,
And farming is a dangerous existence.
Too early and you’re ruined,
Too late and it’s no good;
Too long and it’s a battle just
To see it all come out —
Too short and everything goes bad,
Too cold, too hot, too dry —
And years when it’s good everywhere,
His crops may not be worth the cost of labor.

Sarah Sipsey needs the sun.
She needs it right so she can paint:
She’s sold her paintings now for years, and
Gradually has brought them in some income.
Sun and clouds and grain —
The hills, the rivers and the lakes —
The flowers and the showers and the wind across the plain:
These are her subjects. But
Her buyers like the sunshine, like
The way the paintings sparkle with the light.
Her mama thought that she would be a baker
Passing on the family recipes,
But she picked up a brush one day and
Couldn’t put it down. She’d rather paint
A wider range of subjects, but the buyers
Up in Hunstville only want “the sunny ones”.

The Sipsey farm is hard to find,
Not even GPS can quite tell where
The road is to the road that meets the drive.
But over at the Quinton Chapel, A.M.E.,
You’ll find them both,
On Sundays with their family and friends.
That building’s very old: there is no heat
Or air, but there is life, and life they celebrate.
And on the drive back home, they sit in silence, sometimes,
One prays for clouds, and one for sun,
Their two hands intertwined,
While ways away, in Huntsville,
A business conference is being held:
Check-ins by a bright painting of wheat fields,
And sushi later will be downed thoughtlessly
With soy sauce brewed locally

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