267. Home

“Hey you!
This all you got?”

His shoulder to the door,
It slammed. He
Turned, struck by
The darkness in his house.

The voice was ragged, furious,
And rude:
“Tom!
This all you got?”

Blinking in the gloom,
Tom could make out at last
Three weakly pricks of
Light, down by the floor,
Not far away–

“Fool!
Stand where you are!
You almost stepped on her!
Took me a coon’s age, too,
To find these candles–
Don’t bump them!
Don’t stir!
This all you got?
Got any more?
It’s still so dark!”

“Patty?” No, his ears,
They must deceive him–
Then her eyes loomed
Inches off from his: her
Breath against his neck,
Rapid, unnerved.

Stunned, he searched
Her face. “Riah’s
Bad,” she breathed.
“Bad-off, I mean.
Sick.
Done what I could.
It ain’t enough.”
Tom held her gaze.

“So what I’m telling you is–”
Her lips trembled, and
Her face was twisted, wrung.
A whisper:
“What I’m telling you is–
Fetch that whore.”

He knew, in the instant,
Who she meant.
He said, “Do you think–”
“Your wife’s down there,
A blanket on her.
You don’t need to see.
Won’t help you none.
You turn round, out the door.
Get who I said.”

“What about the doctor?”
Her face softened.
Patty clasped his arm.
“Tom–
It’s the asthma.
Nothing he can do.”

She shoved him:
“Go!
Don’t ask me how! Just
Do it, you’re
A man! Get to
The Lymans’–
Take their car, it’s
Nearly new. They got
A phone. It may not
Work–the dust–
Try the doctor’s,
Try downtown.
I been here,” she cried sharply,
“By myself,” voice rising,
“For the longest time!
Why’s there no
Help?” Accusing:
“Thought you’d
Never come!”

Pulling hand by hand,
Back in the storm, he was
Two miles down the fence
Before a question, like a
Stirring coffin worm
Had bored its path
Up through his body
To his brain,
And left gnawing there
An unknown and a name:

James.

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4 Responses to “267. Home”

  1. Grad Says:

    Once again I’m playing “catch up” with “Rain..” It is consistently good.

  2. sshaver Says:

    Grad! It’s so good to see you again. I’ve moved your comment over to the Welcome page where more people can see it. I’ll respond there.

  3. Kaki Warner Says:

    This is ridiculous. I have a life. Why aren’t I living it rather than getting so inthralled in these characters? You’re that good you make me forget what I need to do. Still reading…

  4. sshaver Says:

    I’m laughing, and will respond later today on the Welcome Page.

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