Sunday, September 30, 2012


She said not to use scissors on Sunday.
She kept me out of her dresser drawers.
She told me stories I thought were of ghosts.
She moved as quickly as her grandson did.
We were both moving through her one-floor house.
My uncle came in. His horse was saddled.
I was too little to fear falling off.
He gripped the bridle, said talk to the horse.
His horse had the name he gave it but what
he said to me was I could call him Horse.

One day my uncle Abraham Clyde rode
to the cemetery with me behind,
helped me down, then found my brother Bobby’s
dirt-brown, thorn-covered thimble full of earth
and I traced with one finger the name Floyce
where there was room. He must have seen. An owl
made his sound. The moon was gone. It was night
without stars. You couldn’t see any clouds.

I remember nothing but the horse tied
by the bridle to the cemetery’s
swinging gate, my uncle’s flashlight, the ride
on up the way, farther from home, as I
was lovingly told once I saw her by
my grandma stooping down to kiss me home.

Effie Drusilla–or was it a c?--
stood too tall, her father claimed, to favor
her mother. He was full-blood Welsh, he had
no horses. Her mother was called a breed.
She’s small in the Tahlequah photograph:
Her mother, named Peralee, was called Pearl.
She loved a man who rode a horse to town
and sang the songs he played on his guitar.

No stone marks where she and her son lie dead.
Not even my uncle’s horse I called Horse
knew where to go, but grandma did. She took
me walking that day, not as far as
Cross Cemetery, but up by the edge
of pine above the pasture, where the horse
pulled up the grass. She said if I could see
through the earth I would see where she came from.
Pay me no mind, she’d add, I see some things.
You’re better off knowing what the dead saw.

(29 September 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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