234. Storm: March 10

Gales rose
Like a siren in their ears.
Tom and Riah moved fast
Stuffing windows,
Plugging socks and rags
In rotted sills.

“James–”
But he knew already:
Get the matches,
Lamp, the kerosene–
Trim the wick, put all that
On the table, the agreed-on
Place they could reach
Blind. James dashed
To the kitchen,
Spread a pan of biscuits
With a towel.

Riah hauled a bucket
From the tank. She snatched
Three patched kerchiefs,
Soaked them through
To tie round nose and mouth.
Sharp knocks–
“At the front”–

Tom got the door.
“Mr. Guthrie?”
Bald head topped with
Old limp hat,
He stepped in, not
Waiting to be asked.

“Tom.
It’s old Hal Harlan’s place.
You heard he been sick, boy?
Too sick to do his listing,
In his field–
Them on the Committee,
They’ve tried to blink it,
Look the other way.
But last time, they say
He don’t plow next time
To break high wind, they
Got no choice.
Got to hold his check.
He’s breach of contract.
This storm’s what they mean.
Good day, ma’am”:
Hat tipped to Riah.

“Me and some the fellows
Who can go, why, thought
We’d drive our tractors,
List at Harlan’s,
So he’ll get his check.
Now, your family here
Needs watching over,
But Tom–
Reckon you could come?”

Tom turned.
Riah: “Go.”
Mr. Guthrie sighed.
Tom grabbed a coat.

At the door slam,
Fast with cloths and matches,
James took up Tom’s chores.
As the room grew
Darker, he dragged up
A chair, and propped it
At the door.

2 Responses to “234. Storm: March 10”

  1. Kaki Warner Says:

    Wait. You can’t just stop it there. What happens? (See what you’ve done. You’ve got me hooked and I have deadlines. Rats!)

  2. sshaver Says:

    Response on Welcome Page.

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