Carrot Sheds in 1950's Arizona...A Poem



Orange grove blossoms drench the thickened

Darkness with their summer-dense perfume.

Carrots picked are placed in cello packs

In flood-lit, open metal sheds

By animated Mexican girls

Luscious as the billion fecund blooms.

Glowing islands in the country night,

Ships of light that ply the desert fields,

Spiraled moths bedazzled by the naked bulbs

Like gulls around the sun or trash dumped in the sea.


Crates on assembly-line rollers ramp up

To my truck where I stack them seven high

On the flat bed in the warm evening air,

Aware of the girls that chatter and smile

As they pack the crates that roll between them

Before they reach me outside on the truck.

An umbilical cord of steel conveys

The carrots, our only link symbolic.


I rope the crates in place,

Bid senoritas adios, if only in my mind,

Then drive through empty roads and vacant streets,

Past lonely, haloed lights, the roaring truck

Companion in the darkness of the night.

Back to the warehouse, bearing gifts

To boxcars waiting on the spur behind

The loading shed, pressed close with doors

Like open mouths in fleeting, hungry kiss,

Or eager nestling with mother's loaded beak

Deep in its throat, regurgitation

Of hand-trucked carrots moved across

The narrow span, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,

From now gaunt shed to bulging boxcar door.


Then shunt great cakes of ice on end

Into the whirling spikes and jaws

That grind the blocks to blizzard snow,

Shaven ice like snow-cone makings,

Round-faced Billy blows

Into the boxcars through an eight-inch hose,

A muscled snake with its own will,

Cooling carrots stacked inside,

Like hoary winter's breath had blown

A storm from out of Canada

To quilt in shallow silken drifts

The golden harvest grown in Arizona.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems