She was born there in that cabin, at the edge of the tree line. Mama was a God-fearing woman who never missed church on Sunday and who took washing in from the houses on the hill. Daddy was a hard-working sharecropper who grew just enough to keep his family alive from harvest to harvest.
She helped her mother with cleaning, canning, and the wash, while her brothers learned young how to plow with the mule. At age ten, Mr. Smith took a shine to her when she delivered the laundry on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays she was always home late and Mama fussed at her dawdling.
When Brother told Daddy why, Daddy shot Mr. Smith dead with his deer rifle. They hung Daddy for it. Mama and us kids moved on.
These memories were left here with the trees.
Merril is the host of dVerse today. Merril says:
I decided to take a line from the new US poet laureate, Jo Harjo. I was going to write more about her, but I thought perhaps people would not want her background to influence their own work. So, you can read about her here.
You can also find links to some of her other poems there, and there are many lines that would have worked for this prompt. I’ve selected this line:
“These memories were left here with the trees”
from the poem “How to Write a Poem in a Time of War.” You can read the entire poem here.
Image is “Cabin Viewed from Rear with Wash Line” by: William Aiken Walker