In early May, bands of gypsies
arrived at her father’s farm
seeking spring water
and golden dandelions
to use for medicine and wine.
With grinds and clanks and rattles
they drove their rainbow wagons
on dusty Scrub Grass Road
to the bounty in his meadows.
Arms widespread and welcoming
he greeted them as guests.
He used their skill with sharpening stones
for his shovels and his knives.
He used their presence to mend fences
and just to tease his anxious wife,
for some county women feared the gypsies.
They thought gypsy women tempted husbands
and sold them wine and liquor.
They thought gypsy women stole young children,
luring them with honeyed sweetmeats.
No more splashing around rocks in shallow creeks
after silver flashing minnows.
No more raiding father’s fields
for warm peppers and strawberries.
Now exotic rhythms from drums and castanets
lured her to her bedroom window to gaze wide-eyed
at campfires sparking in the distance.
Then one morning with first light came resolution.
She ran barefoot to a lawn hedge,
spreading wide its thorny branches.
The quilt she clutched about her puddled at her feet.
There stood a tall gypsy just about her age,
his eyes amazing blue, his mouth a mocking grin.
“Go home girl… or I’ll catch you!”
Shaking…blushed she ran to the nearness of her house
uncertain if she should rush into her mother’s arms
or dance across the lawn.