From a Photograph by Russell Lee (1940)

Tom Montag

Jack Whinery’s daughter

is setting a plant

in the window. There is

no glass there, only

a hole cut out

of the logs. The logs are

gnarled and scaly. The mud

once daubed between them

has dried now to rock, or

dust. The plant is potted

in a tin can,

the kind that pork and beans

comes in. The girl’s hands place

the can onto

the naked window sill.

Jack Whinery’s daughter

is a fetching thing

Her hair is tucked behind

her ears; her head is cocked

just so; her eyes are

intent on the plant she

is holding. Her fingers

show they know what work

is. And the girl herself

understands life is hard,

that we all need love

and some time in the sun.

Tom-MontagTom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, as well as Middle Ground, Curlew: Home, Kissing Poetry’s Sister, The Idea of the Local, and The Big Book of Ben Zen. Recent poems will be found at Architrave Press, Atticus Review, Blue Heron Review, The Chaffin Journal, Hamilton Stone Review, Hummingbird, Plainsong, and others. He blogs as The Middlewesterner and serves as Managing Editor of the Lorine Niedecker Monograph Series, What Region?