Pine Mountain Cemetery XXIII

Fleeta was her name, all five feet of her.
Mountain matriarch was a better story.
Leaders don’t have to be tall, just smart.

Right smart, a phrase that should have
Been carved onto her stone. For she
Was that and more besides. Music

Lived in those stubby fingers and under
Her shyest smile. Mothering came second
Nature whether man, child or her milk cow.

It would be a sight to know how many
Lonely, broken souls she carried under
Her ample wing, and good right arm.

They say beggers mark the place of kindness,
Hers must have been carved deep. Never
A hungry soul left her porch hungry, or cold

Or with an empty pocket. Not with gold, she
Had none and five kids to gobble up any extra.
But a pone of bread, or jerky or fatback to keep

One warm on the struggle to get on to where
Ever a hobo gets on in their lonely walk. They
Might even be known to hum a tune, heard last

While Fleeta was tending dinner or kids or husband.
Funny her man was named Pearl, and he was not.
She was the jewel polished by enough hard work

To smelt the hardest iron into shiny brass. All her
Clan listened to those few words she laid out
For them to think over, wise they knew, better

Than whatever foolishness they were tempted to.
Not because she had it easy was she right, more
Because the horseshoe is strong because of fire.

Five children have made a dynasty, worked
The world over, brought home treasures of life
That last. They climb the hill to shed their tears

For she who didn’t live to see how well molded
Each one is in her image. This place has lots
Of good laid here, and none better than Fleeta.