"Miles Homer Steals Watermelon" by Nathaniel Miles Millard

Nathaniel Millard

Nathaniel Millard

Nathaniel Miles Millard, a PhD candidate at Utah State University in the Department of Environment and Society, currently teaches courses in Sustainability, Academic Writing, and Outdoor Education at California State University Chico. He has various research and creative publications. He can be found most evenings hiking a ridge line; while he writes in his notebook, his dog sniffs the air.  He maintains a blog he writes for his friends and family called fitweed.

Miles Homer Steals Watermelon

He strolls out into the dawn fields,
Rising sun reflects off honey bee forewings
And the arced spray of churning sprinklers—
The hum and chug of early morning work.

Hands, rock worn and wood callused, stoop
To run cross-grain of each swollen melon.
Night cool waxy rind against his hardened skin;
His fingers slide to the withering tendrils.

He picks each melon up into his arms, holds them
To his belly, touches the yellowed spot
Hid from sunlight, bounces the weight, thumps
The melon in a manly hug gesture and listens.

He inhales slowly, deeply, through his nose.
He inspects the curves, looks for the bee sting
Scars along the skin, scratches the dark green;
The outer skin slips from the surface.

Like hands searching rock for a hold, he rejoices
In short moments of known history, in succinct
Ecstasy, something to embrace—eat and it is gone.
He finds one, pulls a knife from his pocket, 

Cuts the cracked and half-dead vine away,
Lifts the heavy melon up to his left shoulder,
Turns from the rising sun, and carefully steps
Over other melons still ripening in the fields.