I learnt pretty quick that some ways
of acting don’t go over
with just everybody, like that time
Mr. Wayne came to the church picnic
grinning and bouncing
up and down on springy legs
and I thought What fun Mr. Wayne
is a-having, and I couldn’t figure out
why Miss Wayne, his wife and pillar of faith,
was mad as a fire ant and seemed
to be wanting him to leave.
I said, Look at Mr. Wayne,
Mama, he’s having hisself a time,
and Mama’s face got hard
like the Heavenly God’s
on Reckoning Day, and she
shooed me away.
I caught on that Mr. Wayne’s
happiness likely came from
that flat bottle in his hip pocket,
and when they finally got him
to leave, pretty quiet considering,
I thought that if they’d seen
what I’d seen, Mr. Wayne
standing in a dusty furrow
beside his old blue tractor,
and he never saw me but I
watched him standing still a good long while
with him just looking up, and me thinking
of all this and I wondered if maybe
they should’ve let Mr. Wayne
bounce and grin a spell.
For dVerse Poetics. Claudia is hosting tonight, allowing us to exercise our storytelling skills. She has a whole long list of subjects or objects to include in our stories; I chose the tractor and the liquor bottle. Those two things just jumped out at me, reminding me of an episode of my childhood, and the story kind of wrote itself from there. We also had the option to go fairy-tale with this, but I opted not to take that route. I’ve been working (none too swiftly) on a series of poems in this particular voice of a rural boy, trying to remember the sentence phrasing and cadence of my childhood. Seemed to be a good choice to narrate this story. Stop by dVerse, check out Claudia’s prompt, and tell us a story!