Thinking to spare his mama some pain.
Directly after the snow melted, he'd brought his team around,
Hooked the big gray mules to the front bumper.
It ain't no trouble, Mama. I kin haul it down to Allen's-
Leave it be, she said, I told you, Leave it be.
Over fifty years ago, that was, the March that big snow came.
She'd waded at sun up through the high-piled drifts
To find her man laying across the seat,
An empty jar of white likker on the floor board,
And him, her man, frosted with rime ice..
Dead as a hammer.
He always was bad to drink, or so the neighbors said,
But she pretended not to know and he wouldn't bring it in the house.
That last night, in all that snow, he'd stepped out to his car for a little sup,
Turned on the engine to get the warmth of the heater . . .
Another sup, and another. . .
Inside the house, she blew out the last lamp.
And all the while the wind blew and the snow fell . . .
Smothered to death, is what the neighbors said,
Once snow covered up the tail pipe and the motor still running . . .
They shook their heads, whispering,
And her in the house, not but a few steps away. . .
She lived another twenty-some years, watching that car rust,
While the house fell to pieces around her.
Corley tried his best to keep the place up but she'd have none of it,Leave it be, she'd say. I told you, Leave it be.
This was inspired by an incident from Sheila Kay Adams's book Come Go Home With Me... I'm not done with it -- it may need to be a short story.