Come October

Tell me bout the children
Are the girls okay
Let little Lucy know I would sew her Spring Fling gown if I could
I wanted to
rosebud pink with Swiss dots
Spaghetti straps
No don’t bring them here
I want them to remember Meemaw like I was
Like I’m supposed to be
Don’t ask how I’m doin’

Did Bobby and Jack cover the hay
From the summer rains
Daddy’s gonna be mad if—that’s right some days it’s like he’s still here
Even if you don’t love somebody
They are still yours
You are still theirs
I never had a say in what happened to me
Like an old tree growing with a fence
You can’t break them part
Without one being cut
Don’t ask me about your father

Even in here
I can smell the harvest
It’s a warm sweetish smell
Daddy and me would’ve been forty years
Come October
He done what he did
And I never asked questions
He’d slap me into next week if I did
It’s not fair they blame me for what he done
You know I would never hurt nobody
What could I have done

My seed catalogs came today
I turned the thin pages half the night
Busting with
The papers say I should’ve known
so many farm hands coming and going
Always leaving their things behind
Us never paying salaries and all
I kept the books
And my mouth shut
Come spring they’ll move me from laundry to gardening
I hope
I’m not the kind that asks questions

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