The best dust is the kind my forebears tasted
it roughed their teeth and
coated pores while sweat
cut rivers through it.
When wiped from face, it
anchored in wise crevasses.
Wind moved the dust as a ghost
It haunted the house
moving effortlessly through every tiny crack
and turned disbelieving brown eyes red.
On calm days the dust provided the scantest protection
from voracious biting horse-flies and
tobacco spewing hoppers
This is the best kind of dust for
how it coated the bath tub and plugged drains
demanding a pumice stone to peel from leathered skin,
then refusing to rinse away quietly
depositing clay crud in the clothes washer.
This dust will not be ignored. It demands
to hold everything
the dusty old Chevy
the precious china
opaque windows that faint the sun
scratched eye glasses that blur the world.
This is the dust of the Old Timers' whiskey stories
about God's Will and the big storm
that blacked the parched skies for days
choked babies and buried newborn colts
tenacious days of mettle and fortitude
of muddy sweat and Sunday morning respite
coughing grey on a hard Lutheran pew
the coins and bills in the collection tray, gritty.
This dust is the skin of my forebears
it made them aware and alive
hard and kind
brief and aloof
suspicious and generous
This dust smells of desperate work
tastes of hardship
and feels like black spit from the back of a throat.
Enriched in stolen soil
my forebears made me possible
baptizing me in water and education
affording me privileges they could scarce imagine.
So when my satellite TV goes out in the rain
during the big game
remind me of the worth of my complaint.