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Le Hinton
Poems

About the Poet

Le Hinton is the author of five poetry collections including The God of Our Dreams (Iris G. Press, 2010) and The Language of Moisture and Light (Iris G. Press, 2014). His work can be found in many journals including Little Patuxent Review, Unshod Quills, Watershed, and Off the Coast.

His work has or will be published in the anthologies, Cooking Up South and The Best American Poetry 2014. His poem “Epidemic” was the winner of the Baltimore Review’s 2013 Winter Issue contest and in 2014 was selected by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Public Poetry Project as one of four poems by Pennsylvania poets that were made into posters and disseminated throughout the commonwealth.

His poem, “Our Ballpark,” was incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture, Common Thread, and permanently installed at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as part of the Poetry Paths project.

 


Spring 2015 Poems ~
Fabric

My grandfather wore jeans almost every day.
Dungarees, overalls. He laid bricks on top
of bricks through concrete days of work.

"Jeans are honest. This is what my grandfather wore," he said.
"They remember the weight of the cotton he picked.
Carry the memory of each boll and bale."

He told me his grandfather's stories,
described how red blood becomes brown stains on blue
jeans. Remembered lashes and the feel of each raised scar.

My eight-year-old hands fingered the frayed edges
that didn't unravel. I saw the lye wash
each week's dirt and weaken the weave.

My grandfather taught his sons to calculate
and measure. Cement and sand, rock and water.
The right ratios for strength. The right balance for survival.

Deep into this life, I consider the fabric of those men,
their days of blood and pain. Nights of family and honor.
Cotton and cement binding us across generations.

Each morning I look in the mirror and straighten
my tie. Practice the silk lies I tell myself. Pretend that someday
I'll be that strong. Somehow I'll be that good.

 

~

Elegy for My Other Father

He loved me as if I were his own son.
Sheltered me in arms (brown as the clay
of our ancestors). Placed
me in the manger, swaddled and dry.
   
With his hands worn tender from work,
he constructed my cradle, then bore
it through the night
  (as we escaped from Herod's swords),
his unvoiced assurance urging
us along while he kept watch over us by night.
   
He taught us to see the perfect bench
in a gnarled olive tree, to listen to the stories
of soundless wood, that waiting is sometimes holy.
   
He understood the purpose
of my presence in the temple (which Father
I meant). He knew how much I loved his gentle face.
   
This good man wasn't a god
but spoke with angels. He passed on
his wisdom in his handcrafted
silence.
  And with such grace
taught me everything about being a man.

Le Hinton ~

 

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