top of page

Pamela Sumners


His eyes had never been good and when he saw Mary—

it wasn’t stardust but sawdust in his eyes. He had Coke

bottle glasses even then and couldn’t have shot a rabbit

at ten yards passing, which is why Mr. Wilson never looked

at him to go see where the poppies grow over in France.

It was no surprise his plank bound in a wood knot he didn’t

see and knocked his cocked left eye plumb out of socket.

At least he had a job. Plenty of folks in Surrounded Hill

laid about. It was a shame about the eye, though, because

he could only see Mary halfways after that. He had a black

patch for the sunny days but nothing stopped the itch.

So when Charlie died all those years later, after Mister

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had redeemed what Wilson broke,

after even the actor from the B movies had his turn, he left

his dentures soaking, his eyepatch at bedside, and his clunky

glasses with quarter-inch lenses atop a copy of the Arkansas

Democrat facing the back door as if rooting out an intruder

in limited sight range. He heard the slow whine of Mary’s

prayers, winding and catching like unoiled gears, rasping,

almost gauging his own breath. Her words, the final chord

he heard, in his own bed, tremolo from his own throat,

bouncing from the back door to the yard. One of them cried

out, Oh Lord, Oh Lord, O Lord.


Pamela Sumners compulsively writes poetry. See


bottom of page