Thursday, March 1, 2012

Long Time Gone

Leave it be, she said when Corley went to haul it off,
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.
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15 comments:

Victoria said...

Oh, most definitely it needs to be a short story!

Pat in east TN said...

I loved Sheila's book, and your story is terrific. Please continue on with it and keep us updated. (Neat pictures too.)

Martin said...

Certainly has all the makings of a short story.

Barbara Rogers said...

Dialog and pictures, I'm thrilled. Thanks...do more!

Barbara Rogers said...

This probably isn't something you're doing, but your blog today didn't post in my "following" list, and that's happened before. I clicked on it because I knew you usually write daily, and that's how I saw this new posting. I won't let you disappear from my blog reading that easily!

Linda@VS said...

Well, I'm hooked already. Please tell us more.

Beth said...

Wow. I think it already IS a short story, Vicki. I really love it, and the photos seem very poignant after reading your poem/story.

JJM said...

Sorry ... no. Not a short story. What you wrote is pretty nigh exactly as it should be already. It's a poem. Bit of polishing here and there, perhaps, but not much.

I'm not saying you're not a good enough writer to pull it off as prose -- far from it: you could. At the very least a prose poem. But the depth in spareness of the widow's emotion and the outlines of the tale that lies behind it stand on their own, I feel embellishment and expansion would diminish it. Try it both ways, though, see which speaks to you more clearly ...

--Mario

NCmountainwoman said...

I love it as it is and I will no doubt love it with what you decide to do with it. I hope you will give some thought to writing a book of short stories. Some authors have incorporated parts of their novels, you know, so part of the collection is already written. And I just know you have the rest already in your head. Your regular readers will be drawn to it and no doubt other readers will be drawn to your novels because of the collection.

Sorry, though. I have no suggestions as to how you will find the time.

Susan M. Bell said...

Leave It Be

Leave it be right where it is
A reminder of a past too long gone
Don’t try to hide it from me or anyone
It’s fine right there where it lay

Leave it be just as it is
No sense in trying to change it
It’s been right there for many a year
Wouldn’t make a difference no way



(Not much, but thought I'd share. I think it's the start of a longer poem. I read your piece and just had to start writing. Hope you don't mind. And yeah, it really does need to be a short story. Although it already qualifies as a short-short story. You already have so much there in just those few words.)

SUCEN said...

Wow cooll

Vicki Lane said...

I love your responses! I'll tinker a bit with this short form and think about the longer story I had in mind.

Also, kind of in response to NCMountainwoman's suggestion of a collection of stories. I think I'll begin by making a page on this blog where I pull together all the short story-type pieces I've done here.

Maybe another page for recipes?

Delighted if I inspired you, Susan, just as Sheila Kay Adams inspired me....

Vicki Lane said...

I love your responses! I'll tinker a bit with this short form and think about the longer story I had in mind.

Also, kind of in response to NCMountainwoman's suggestion of a collection of stories. I think I'll begin by making a page on this blog where I pull together all the short story-type pieces I've done here.

Maybe another page for recipes?

Delighted if I inspired you, Susan, just as Sheila Kay Adams inspired me....

jennyfreckles said...

Bit late to this, but I like it just as is too - though there's probably a longer story in there too. I love it when people are inspired to link words and photos like that.

Darla said...

I was drawn in immediately...sure hope to read more of this story-in-waiting...