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 www.pamelalsumners.com.