“I Growed No Potatoes To Write About, Sir”: a Rumpus Original Poem by Erin Belieu

By

I Growed No Potatoes To Write About, Sir

nor bogs, nor fathers,
nor special water that was my place
alone to make me hard and wise—
I did not sow nor bury, nor even try to
fudge my nothings in such dirt with
much befangled, peaty spade. My wars
were far away and fought by men (I fear)
I do not know. Hi ho. And hence to lady
work I went. A-sent, ago, long scrubbing at
my bits to strip them extra minty meadow
clean. And only then convened the Little
Ladies’ Manners class. Of Sundays, played
me wormy rose, decaying that corsage
of girls pinned to spindly ballroom chairs
for lessons at our fancy luncheonette. Sir,
we were a pastel herd. When handing
us the rulers, be best assured we clenched
them tense between our knees. You mind
your Qs and Ps, Sir! We snapped our thighs
right shut, Sir! A hairy practice, to quick
the lady trap. But O! it made a vestal woe
to pay when rulers dropped, to those who
gived a skinful inch!
And so, from there
my lady life increased, soft balled, soft
voiced, with little tools to fit my box.
Do not tell, Sir, for we are friends, Sir.
Is that a yes? Then I will confess of nights
when tides are slapping me about, moon
doodled as I am, and that betimes I creep
into your plot and choose your best and
biggest digger. Secret-like, I press the shaft
inside my knee. I strain until the blisters
come. Freely, Sir, without a word,
I tamp. I work. I score your squelchy turf.

-Erin Belieu

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