Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Poem

As the sun sets and shadows fall,
she walks in purple dusk...

I was very curious when I was a child, always asking questions:

"Why does Mr. Bill walk everywhere?" 

"He doesn't drive," Maw Maw Wilson said, "Never has."

"Why did Mr. Riley just stand there and not say a word when Brother Crider told him to give the closing prayer?"

"He's always been backward."

Although Maw Maw's answers didn't contain much detail, I was satisfied.  They made sense. 

What didn't make sense were the answers I got when I asked why everyone in the neighborhood got so upset when Lily Worthington's husband took her to Memphis every now and then.  They discussed it relentlessly, shaking their heads, voices down to murmurs, pained looks on their faces.

"She has spells sometimes," Maw Maw explained, "And makes a lot of cakes."

Mother's answer was a little more detailed; she said Lily had problems, which caused her to stay up all night, making cakes.

But I didn't understand that.  Mother and my grandmothers made cakes; every woman I knew made cakes.  Even I made cakes.  We made them during the day, of course, but what was wrong with making them at night?  And why did Lily's husband have to take her to Memphis because she made cakes? 

That is why, after all these years, I wrote "The Poem."  Although the idea for the story came from Lily, it is purely a work of fiction.   

"The Poem" was accepted by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.  You can find it here.  


Grandma's Place said...

Dam, I just wrote a long and heartfelt comment and it disappeared when I tried to prove I was not a robot! Dam! I won't say it as well, but OMG! What a warm and insightful piece. I am blown away at your ability to express so much of human love and tragedy and lostness in such a short piece. I always feel that when I read a really deep and meaningful work, that I have been gifted. Today you gifted me. You have a special singular talent, and I thank you for sharing it. (my first response- said it all better. But Brenda, Thank you so much for sharing your gift with all of us who follow you. As you so clearly express in your piece, life is not always- or even often what it seems on the surface. You have a rare talent. Love and hugs, judy

Brenda said...

Thank you, my dear friend. Your kind comments mean more to me than you will ever know.

rettapuppet said...

Oh Brenda!!! What a GREAT story!!! I have known these people or some so similar!!! Crying at my computer and getting ready to go to work... You dear lady are a WRITER!!!

Brenda said...

Thank you so much, Retta!

Anonymous said...

An amazing short story, one of the best I've ever read!
I felt like I was there!!!

Brenda said...

Thank you so much, Anonymous. I really appreciate your kind comments.

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley