by Elaine Fowler Palencia
published in Rattle, August 18, 2021
Along the two-lane blacktops
of my childhood we stopped
to buy watermelons.
Mother thumped them,
listening for that deep, ripe sound.
If she hesitated, the farmer
would take out his clasp knife,
cut a square plug for tasting,
offer it on the point of his knife.
She always bought the melon
he’d spoiled for us.
Later, a high school friend
who sold Bibles door-to-door
for spending money, said
he was sent out with these instructions:
“Don’t show them an unwrapped Bible.
Hold up one wrapped in cellophane
and then rip that off.
It obligates them to buy.
They feel like they have no choice.
This works especially well
with the poor.”