The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
[William Carlos Williams]

I am helpless, but the most helpful
I am wielded; I do what I am told
The burden of life is balanced upon
my wheel that turns when it is told
to feed, not only the white chickens—
to feed a nation. To feed my purpose.
I must give and not take, I must quell
the fears of men that haunt
each season, year after year.

I have known too well his calloused hands
that on some days hold on too tight,
as if his life depended on it.
I hold back as tightly and want to say
I am here, you can depend on me
but I know he already knows.
I cannot tell the difference between
the tears and the rain but my wheel
keeps spinning, even when hands let go.

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