She cackles before dawn at the chickens
in her charge. I can hear her old bones
crackling; joints and sinew, her slow towing
gait as she uses that old knobby cane
I made her last Spring. Her eyes puff up,
get blurry now, her hands all red and splotchy;
her thin and scrawny body hardly casts a shadow
as she slurps that old sow in the slough
down by the paddock feeder;
her gray hair clasped back,
her blue sweater full of holes,
and yellow checkered dress
falling from her bodice; yet, she fights me
tooth and nail, tells me she’s able,
better than any grown boy from the city can tell.
Stubborn and tenacious, proud
like the earth below her feet;
she lets the life of soil stir and whir
below the dank cold leaves,
where our roots dig deep down
in memories out of mind like seeds
she planted long ago surfacing only now.
We found her just after dawn
sitting in her favorite chair:
a smile upon her face that made me sad;
knowing she was sitting there
like she’d done every morning without fail
(all her born and married life and after),
waiting for her old lover, the sun,
to rise and gently greet her
one last time for a cup of tea and cinnamon.
– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.