It’s been two years since I’ve seen the familiar countryside
of my mother’s hometown she left when she was five.
Twenty years later, she moved back to the rural community,
and stayed there for the rest of her life.

Down Leweir Street, we led the Cadillac convoy –
the procession was on its way to my mother’s funeral.
I ache like a river bed.

Many put down her talent,
as she had no high school diploma, at the age of fifty.
She endured their assault, but they did not sway her;
it merely kindled the flame which blazed like nomadic fires.
Faded Roses and “Sweet By and By” are all we have
to share her love and compassion.

The book was a window into her life,
with life pushed to its limit.
Her survival was dismal, at best,
until she was laid in the ground.

The poem unlocked her heart,
and released it to her own mother’s passing.
I was simple in form – complex in feeling,
all the years of hate, all the years of love.

Growing up in that small town
where the tracks cut the earth,
She broke her back, doing this
and doing that, to finish her chores
And her sisters’.

My mother loved her own, but her stepfather
looked at her with disgust. A bastard child,
She must do more that her share to even try
to win his love. But his hate was too strong,
And she gave up.

In the small town of hypocrites, they
looked to her, but offered no help.
They made it harder for her to live,
day by day, and talked behind her back.

She died, years after her husband, living in
the small apartment. It cramped her,
almost as much as the arthritis did. But she
could afford, her home.
Forgetfulness settled in her conscience,
and the woman degenerated, from
fusing spine and her weak heart to
the pain in it for her second con. She gave up
on him years ago; he won’t be at the funeral.
He gave up and she followed.

December rains on the plain casket
as the minister delivered his final word.
The mourners began to scatter and I saw them for who they are;
vain relics of a time gone past wearing golf shirts
with hairless white legs, varicose veins,
Red Pendleton shirts stretched across rolls of fat
shine as their pale skin shines through the fabric.

Like a blasted tree stump, my world is torn apart,
The wind carries me away to that small town,
where on my journey, I buried my mother.

© 1993 David Carroll. All Rights Reserved.