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Poem: My Family is Supported by Timber Dollars

My Family is Supported by Timber Dollars sign (Credit:

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.

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