Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hawthorne in Arkansas

Walked barefoot across the highway between Drusilla’s and the Brashears’ house.
Jimmy Brashears brought out his deck of Authors, and we played
our version of what the girls called Old Maids. At least once I recall Hawthorne
was part of the winning hand. I can’t remember a card for Emily Dickinson.
Then we picked up persimmons and threw them as far as we could.
Jimmy won, but I improved. I threw a lot of rocks when I was off on my own.
Drusilla came out–she was walking without a cane–and said for me to stop.
I loved her so much I dropped the rock where I stood and ran to her
and kissed her and followed her inside. She sat me down and told me a story.
It was about a man who left his family and moved across the street,
where he watched to see who left the house and who entered and wrote down
their names. He left his hair and beard uncut. Nobody knew who he was
when he went to his wife’s funeral. He stood up and announced who he was.
Nobody believed him. Her husband had left home long ago and must be dead.
He ran to the coffin about to be lowered and threw himself across it
pleading to be forgiven. Men came up to him and told him the woman was dead.
They led him away and he was let out of jail next day, he went back to watch
the door. Once he could have sworn he saw himself entering through the door.
I asked her who the people were. Were they real? She said everyone is real.
It was your grandaddy, I was the woman, it was a dream my mother taught me.

(23 October 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

No comments:

Post a Comment