ShatterZone - a Fiction


Jeff Johnson and John Henderson Moving Tobacco to the Casing House, Big Pine, Madison County, NC, 1978

It seems so long ago.
And I suppose it was.
When we were new to this place.
And the place new to us.

Not yet knowing how to act,
Or what to say.
How to be a good neighbor?
What it means to be in a community.

We offer help.
It’s clear they need it.
Children have moved off.
And the Mexicans have yet to arrive.

I help also to learn the place, and test myself.
To see if I could be all day in a field, 90 degrees,
Sweating and sticky from the tar.
Me of the soft hands and clerk’s body.

In those days, help meant tobacco.
It’s what was here. Lots of it.
The lifeblood of the county.
Everyone had a hand in it.

Working with a group, there wasn’t a better time.
Talking, laughing, teasing, forming a bond.
And the tobacco we cut . . . At the end of the day,
We’d marvel at what we accomplished.