October 11 1939   Mrs. Hull   Dead Ox Flat, Oregon

by Margo Mensing

The M. M. Hull Family originally from Oklahoma.

Haven’t enough income from eggs and butter fat

to take care of their living expenses. 

House built for a chicken house.

  Plan to build a better house after farm is in production.

FSA Office Report: Document Submitted by Dorothea Lange

The way you handled the light   It files

through the dugout window   falls on Mrs Hull 

her owl glasses   her immaculate tiny print apron

the spindle-back chair   You make me care for Mrs Hull

 

I imagine she dressed for this occasion   This chance 

to sit for Dorothea Lange   No   she didn’t have any idea

who you were   She wanted to be photographed

the way she looked   all put together

 

Still it is not Mrs Hull   the way she’s dressed

or the cramped tidy dugout   Rather it is the date  

October 11   Your date   your month   twenty-six years away   

A day you sail toward oblivious  

 

The living can always close  

the dead’s right parenthesis