320. Evening, May 31, 1935

Without speaking, they sat
On the porch.

Got no crickets no more,
Riah thought. Likely drought
Had killed them all.
Seemed there should be
Crickets: or the stitch, stitch,
Stitch of the cicadas for
A lullaby, this soothing,
Drowsing night.
Riah mused on this,
With half-shut eyes.

Cool air, heat
Drained from it by the dark,
Crept the steps
And ruffled Thomas’ hair.
James breathed deeply, sleeping
On the quilt.
From the corner of her
Eye, she caught Tom
Smile down, lay his hand
Along James’ head.

Nothing need be said.
They’d planted,
It had rained, and
They must wait. Dozing,
Floating on the evening,
On the breeze….

I’ll tell Tom tomorrow,
Riah thought.
She had heard in town
The Committee seat
Had gone to Alvin Tucker.
He had acres, hundreds,
North in county. So
It had gone to him, and
Not to Tom.
Too, Riah heard from
Miss Flynn, she knew
Where Louise was headed,
And could get her in
A nursing school–
If she wanted, Miss Flynn
Could pull strings.
Well, that Committee seat.
Tom wanted that. But
Such a lovely evening
Now. Next day
Will be lots of time
To tell.

Morning’s soon enough,
Tom thought.
Not tonight–
She’s got plenty woes.
No need fretting
Mortgage troubles too.
Letter said they’d call us
For a “hearing.”
They don’t like us
Paying for the farm,
And on Relief.
I can see,

The news can sure wait
Till tomorrow.

Thomas on the porch
Began to whistle.
One of the old songs,
Content, and slow.
Joining in the stream,
She hummed along.

A moth grazed James’ cheek.
Murmuring, he flipflopped
On his back.
He laughed softly, smiling
In a dream.

They leaned toward
James, tune carrying them,
Wordless, their eyes met
Above the quilt.


16 Responses to “320. Evening, May 31, 1935”

  1. Grad Says:

    You write beautifully. I haven’t caught all the episodes, but will slowly make my way through the entire story. It’s really worth it.

  2. Mary Lee Says:

    I love the secrets they each keep, and the “stitch, stitch, stitch” of cicadas.

  3. sshaver Says:

    Mary Lee,

    Answered on the Welcome Page–thanks.

  4. Diane Mayr Says:

    This one is quiet, but that’s its strength. Love it!

  5. sshaver Says:

    Hi Diane,

    My day was a little melancholy, so your comment came at the perfect time. I want to think on it and will respond on the Welcome Page probably Friday. Thank you, and I like your current post!

  6. Nicola Says:

    Beautifully written, as always.

  7. sshaver Says:


    What a lovely site you yourself have, and your comment was much appreciated. If it’s okay, I’ll respond on the Welcome Page after the Thanksgiving rush is over.

    Grad, in looking back over the comments here, I’m pretty sure (I hope) I responded to yours from August long ago on the Welcome Page.

  8. Grad Says:

    I was thinking about Rain: A Dust Bowl Story on a recent road trip (I think this would a good candidate for audio format). Suddenly, the word “Screenplay” came to mind. Have you ever thought of that?

  9. sshaver Says:

    My one-word response on the Welcome Page….

  10. Mirella Says:

    Merry Christmas to you too, Shelley. You are such a beautiful writer and give the gift of joy every time I log on to your blog. May you keep the beauty coming.

  11. sshaver Says:

    Great to see you again, Mirella. Response on the Welcome Page.

  12. graddikins Says:

    Hope you are writing that screenplay. Do you have another blog? You’re a super writer.

  13. sshaver Says:


    Delighted to hear from you, and will respond more thoroughly in about a week over on the Welcome page! I’ll move your comment there then. Thanks again for it….

  14. Thomas Martin Says:

    Isn’t this The Grapes of Wrath retold?

  15. sshaver Says:

    Hi Thomas, I’ll respond on the Welcome Page so others can consider your question.

  16. sshaver Says:

    Waffle-Wednesday: Liesl, I respond on the Welcome page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: