The Taste of Dirt & Blood Still Lingers
It was my grandmother
to whom all the neighbors’ mothers
sent their children, across the fields
by pointing a finger in that direction,
when a splinter of glass or wood 
in the finger or sole of the foot, 
or a speck in the eye would not budge. 
Like wounded homing pigeons they crossed
the hay, pasture and tobacco fields,
or navigated the woods from the back
or the side field.  They came bare-
footed and often barebacked.
She would lick the end of her sewing 
needle, or roll up the corner
of her apron, then pluck out 
the prize in record time. The child
still wincing in pain’s anticipation,
a tongue bitten into the corner
of the mouth.  Here she would say
take this home to your mammy 
and show her what it was.  
She always bled the finger or toe to clean
out any puss, or rinsed the eye with fresh
well water.  Then pulled a piece of precious 
peppermint from her apron pocket. 
Melva Sue Priddy