Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Widow Drusilla and Her Sons


There was no time, no need, they knew what they
needed to do and how long it took them.
They knew about the sons of the rich man
they worked for in Lequire. Those boys worked
at getting out of work, Drusilla said.
She would think, but not say, she was happy
they were that way. She didn’t want to starve
her children. It was bad enough to wait
for jackrabbit. Her sons went out to hunt
upon coming in from the cotton field.

Drusilla missed Abraham. She missed him
when he was alive and always took off
once they began to fight and kept it up
until there was nothing else left to say
but the hurt that brought on the misery
for both of them. When he returned, he loved
her so well she was pregnant by the time
she drove him off once more, to hear him tell
the boys. She had one daughter. Eunice took
after her father, she was resentful
like him. But she helped Drusilla keep house,
if you could call a cropper’s shack a house.

They stayed two years after Abe was murdered.
She knew that Lequire wanted them to leave.
Two guys, a girl Drusilla called a whore,
and a judge in the Sallisaw Masons
catching the glint of the defendants’ rings;
Drusilla thought that must be why he let
them go, accepting their plea that Abe pulled
a gun on them, when he’d never owned one
in his life. That’s what his family
got: nothing. Abe’s friend buried him for free.
Jess, her oldest, said words over the grave.

Jess went to Ponca City to look for work.
Arrested for vagrancy–no money–
whooping it up with an Indian girl–
a night in jail–and the judge offered him
a job being a city cop. And Chloe
Waller, half French, half Osage, loved him well
night after night and sometimes during days
on his days off. Her father owned a well
or two, and Jess knew they had no future.

(7 October 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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