The Pick | Cecilia Woloch
I watched him swinging the pick in the sun,
breaking the concrete steps into chunks of rock,
and the rocks into dust,
and the dust into earth again.
I must have sat for a very long time on the split rail fence,
just watching him.
My father’s body glistened with sweat,
his arms flew like dark wings over his head.
He was turning the backyard into terraces,
breaking the hill into two flat plains.
I took for granted the power of him,
though it frightened me, too.
I watched as he swung the pick into the air
and brought it down hard
and changed the shape of the world,
and changed the shape of the world again.
The poem first appeared in Sacrifice by Cecilia Woloch, Tebot Bach, 1997
Cecilia Woloch (1956) born in Kentucky is an American- Carpathian Romani writer and poet based in Los Angeles. Her honors include fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, CEC/ArtsLink International and the Center for International Theatre Development; her work has also received a Pushcart Prize and been included in the Best American Poetry Series and in numerous anthologies.