Looking Homeward

Bill Waldron spared my mother and father agony
by teaching me how to drive a stick in a cornfield.

Think of it as an H, he said of the lever that came
out of the steering shaft of his two-door Dodge,

which my mother called a coupay. We were on the two-rut road
around the field that the tractor took to get in and out

at planting and harvest. The grassy hump sometimes hit the underside
and Bill would say, Oh m'god, downshift, girl, easerup,

which wasn't hard as long as I remembered to clutch--
or the car would stutter over itself

and on the passenger side, Bill would get thrown around
almost to bumping his nose on the dash.

He had a big nose, talked as if he had a cold,
and his eye was on my older sister, who dreamed of boys

and going to Africa. I felt pretty important as the vehicle
to her heart, though I knew Bill didn't have a prayer.

My sister married a Rhodes Scholar and went to Uganda
for Uhuru. Bill married the daughter of the town monument maker

and took over the business
before he even had a chance to look away.

He marked my father's, then my mother's grave,
so they won't ever be forgotten in that town I drove out of.

Copyright © 2001 Anne Harding Woodworth (from Aesop's Eagles, and Poems from the Road)

Rommel’s Afrikakorps                       

At Fort Riley the POWs did odd jobs
at the tank commander’s house.
They put down their rakes

and each in turn picked up the child,
held him delicately singing German lullabies
as if they were chorales.

His grandmother swatted a broom across their knees,
screaming at them to leave the boy alone,
damned Nazi Krauts, or she would kill them.

And so Germany was vanquished.

The prisoners dissolved into other places
in a time of movement all over the world.
And in a ’38 Plymouth

the boy’s father took the family
from Kansas to a town in Michigan,
where they built a bungalow on Harmon Street,

and the boy stood in a bay window there,
felt the sun across his face drawing him
out into the front seat of the Plymouth,

Copyright © 2014 Anne Harding Woodworth (from Unattached Male)

Here are some links to other poems by Anne Harding Woodworth.

Selections from Anne's chapbook, The Last Gun. These won the 2015-2016 COG Poetry Award out of Cogswell College. A. Van Jordan, judge. See cogzine.com

Here's a video of Anne reading at the Guilford Poetry Guild, April 14, 2016

Other poems:

“Accident on the Red Line Remembered” 
"Driving into London"
"Dessert is not the End"
"Leaving in a Beechcraft"
"Mysteries of the Universe will be Solved Starting Next Wednesday"

"Stuart Among the Nightingales"