Rumor has it
that for a real long time
tied up in a sack
way in the top of a tree
and ain’t nobody died
in that whole long time
an ol’ lady come by a’weepin’.
he’d done enough weepin’ in his own life
that he hated to see people cry
unless they was cryin’ fer joy,
so he ask’t th’ ol’ lady what she’s weepin’ about
and she said she’d lived long enough,
‘n all her parts hurt,
‘n her legs barely worked,
‘n she thought it was time that she died.
Jack said he un’erstood that’n t’wouldn’ be long
before he felt like that hisself
‘n he ast’er why
she dint jes roll over’n die.
And that’s when the old lady lost it,
“Cause some blame fool’s got Death up a tree
‘n ain’t nobody died fer decades!”
When Jack stopped blushin’
he looked her right in her tear-filled eye
‘n he gently’n quietly said,
“I’m sorry t’tell ya this, ma’am,
but that fool that you’re talkin’ ‘bout’s me”
an’ he started in climbin’ the tree.
Same rumor has it
Jack came down with the sack,
and to prove She’s as vindictive as some people think
Death went back to work first on Jack
‘n then to prove She can also be kind
She took away the old lady
an’ She ain’t never stopped workin’
not never nohow not since—
I mean we all know what happened last year.
(‘N rumor has it She ain’t skippin’ no-one
‘ceptin’ maybe that writer Neil Gaiman.)
Which brings us back to Kevin.
the one who brought him to our house,
took me to see his memorial.
There’s a shiny white cross across the road from his place
and we went there to pay our respects.
“No,” a voice said, “not that one—
That’s for that lawyer that got killed on his bike.
Kevin’s that one down there.”
And they pointed.
Kevin’s cross is quite a bit rougher and has bricks as decorations.
I brought a paintbrush he left on our porch
‘n I wedged it between two bricks.
“They said he was shot,” I said out loud
‘n one’a th’voices said, “Yeah.”
I think it was me who asked it
but it coulda just as well been my wife.
‘N the voice I couldn’ bear look at
‘cause it mighta been Kevin’s brother’s
“The lawyer got killed by a hit’n’run
‘n rumor has it
it coulda been Kevin turned that driver in
‘n it turns out
the driver’s Amanda’s son.”
Got the rest of the story in fits an’ starts.
an’ i don’ think this is rumor,
Amanda came by n’started yellin’ at Kevin
an’ then she headed on home.
I’m gonna tell you the truth here,
I don’t know for certain
whether Death was disguised as Amanda
or Amanda came back
with Death disguised
as her boyfriend who was drivin’ the car,
but when she came back she had her gun with her
and she pointed that gun at Kevin.
‘N Kevin, well, he did what boy-men so often do,
at least that’s how rumor has it.
Hell, they even do it on tv
so you’d prob’ly do it, too.
He said, “You ain’t gonna use it so put it away”
‘n then he turned his back.
Ok, maybe this is the point,
maybe this is why
I’ve been writin’—Please, my frien’,
if it ever comes up,
don’ turn your back on Death,
‘cause Amanda shot him
a bunch a times
right in the back
‘n later that night
An’ the boyfriend ‘n Death
or Amanda ‘n Death,
they up ‘n drove away.
But that’s jes’ what’s what, y’know?
I mean I’m gettin’ old now
and I imagine one day pretty soon
ol’ Death’ll come for me.
Mostly I’m hopin’
She waits awhile
before She up ‘n comes for you.