When I was a kid
growing up in Montana. I remember seeing
the bright, fluorescent yellow plywood signs
in the pick-up truck's back window.
Between the gun rack (if you had one) the stenciled black letters
rattled around, holding on, defiant as the truth.
We don't notice what we know too well.
The sign just stated the truth. I had no idea
why these words were needed or
that they were meant to hold onto.
"This Family is Supported by Timber Dollars"
My dad worked for Plum Creek Lumber Company.
I loved the smell of sawdust and sap. Still do.
He taught me to split wood, to look for the crack
and to aim for the weak places when you want to
break things apart.
When you are young you don't know that a spotted owl
you will never know can make you take stencil and black
spray paint to plywood and stand before God and Chevrolet
to declare the fragile dignity of your livelihood.