Weekly Poem: Charles Hood Reads ‘FSA’

By Charles Hood

I share a room with an ice climber and somebody
from NASA. Their socks want to be with mine

and I say no, no, and kick them savagely. A woman
from Minneapolis sentences her soot brindle sweater

to solitary confinement inside the dorm dryer, sets it on a cold cycle
for three days. So much for the rest of us. I have brought ten flutters

of Bounce in a quart Ziplock but when NASA pajamas asks,
I say I am out. Until the down-the-hall girls finish, no point

anyway. I hide the Ziplock between the pages of a book.
I am sure they had Wal-Mart and Target in his town

and he always forgets to lock the door.

Ben Shahn the FSA photographer swore it is true because he was there: farmer was being rejected for a Dust Bowl loan. Something out of Grapes of Wrath, and things are grim but not decided yet either way. Farmer pleads. Banker says, here’s a sporting offer old timer. If you can guess which one of my eyes is a glass one, you can have your loan. The farmer doesn’t hesitate. “The left one.” And of course he’s right–the banker says, holy Joe, how did you know? Farmer, it’s the one that looked the kindest.

Charles HoodCharles Hood is the author of “South x South” (Ohio University Press), winner of the 2012 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His previous books include “Bombing Ploesti” and “Rio de Dios” (Red Hen Press). He has been the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, an Artist in Residency with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and an Artists and Writers grant from the National Science Foundation. He teaches photography and writing at Antelope Valley College, Calif.

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