I watched my father’s friends
Roll cigarettes, when I was young
Leaning against our black tarpaper shack.
The wheatstraw grimy in their hands
Talking of cars and tools and jobs
Everybody out of work.
the quick flip back
And thin lick stick of the tongue,
And a twist, and a fingernail flare of match.
I watched and wished my overalls
Had hammer-slings like theirs.
The war and after the war
With jobs and money came,
My father lives in a big suburban home.
It seems like since the thirties
I’m the only one stayed poor.
It’s good to sit in the
Window of my shack,
Roll tan wheatstraw and tobacco
Round and smoke.
"Makings" by Gary Snyder from No Nature. © Pantheon Books 1992.