Hard to believe now, but
every time she gave us up
I cried at night, missing Mama--
her rough voice gravelly,
her cigarettes glowing
in the dark--
her rocking in a straight chair
& humming lullabies
when she thought we slept.
from THROUGH THE TEMPESTS DARK AND WILD:
Mary called out, "I'll be in the pine grove."
She loved to sit in the deep shade in the hills behind the house, soothed by the sigh of the pines, and write stories. Today she stayed for a long time, brooding and staring at the ruins of a castle on a rocky point. Sprays of surf plumed up around it, the rhythmic waves faint in the distance.
Mary took up her pen and began a new story. This story was set in Scotland with echoes of the haunted tales and legends of its people, whispers of moor and mountain eyrie, and the chill of the North Sea.
from THE PAINTERS OF LEXIEVILLE:
Jobe: Time was, nothing had changed, not for our whole lives. Rain in the spring turned our road to a bog, and I fishtailed it for fun down the ruts when I was driving in the pickup listening to the top country countdown, singing out loud, never seeing nothing coming. And Pert, she was a little girl, even if she was a junior in high school and looking like to be the first Lexie to make it to graduation. Orris was always picking on us, nothing new in that. And Papa, just trying to make a go of it with Mama getting quieter and stiller, though I hadn't yet seen it. I was just a boy then, though I thought I was a man.
Thinking back now to the day they found Orris, I can just about smell the damp pine needles, see the rain dripping off the end of a branch, and I can only stand amazed that any of us made it through at all. And what happened to Pert, whether it was grace or fate or divine indifference, is a question always in my own mind and, I suspect, will be ever' day to come.
from OLD THUNDER AND MISS RANEY:
The storm rushed in behind us, howling like a freight train into the station. One side of the buggy jerked. The other side dipped. I hunkered down and held on tight. Old Thunder froze in his tracks.
"Don't stop now," I screeched. "It's a tornado!" Whirling and howling, the wind swirled round and round and sucked us right up off the ground.
Faster than you could shake a stick at it, that old tornado had us spinning like a top.
We zigged and zagged through lightning and thunder, twirled and whirled through hail and rain.
from YAFI'S FAMILY:
...I can't remember my first mother. When I think about her, I'm sad and I miss her. Why do I miss her when I can't remember her face?"
"When a baby is born to a mother, that baby may not remember the mother in his mind, but he can remember the love in his heart," Mom said.
from HOME TO ME: Poems Across America, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins:
First Saturday Morning, Beaumont, Texas
On oyster shell and palm tree lanes,
our new neighbors trailers, humpbacked
mildew-streaked beached wanderers,
surround ours, muddy with road-splash.
Sunlight bright on ocean air, mid-morning,
country music blares through screen doors.
Mama, in pink curlers, hums along,
sets terra-cotta pots of peppermint
carnations on our trailer hitch.
Daddy with long-handled scrub brush
hoses down the roof. From above,
his footsteps' hollow thrum,
swish, splash of brush and water.
My sister rides bikes with her new friend,
singing her way toward seesaw and swings.
In the space between friends,
I sit in black walnut tree shade,
bark scratching through my shirt,
drone of heavy-winged bee, black-striped
yellow fur against blue hydrangea,
damp earth cool brown, smooth
under saw-toothed leaves, remember
last Saturday's desert-dust front yard,
my best friend's laughter out her kitchen window,
West Texas sunset-streaked sky, turquoise,
one silver star rising from evening's deep horizon.