Called Back against my will to face
Facts of who I was and now not am. 
Accusing kin with forgiveness smiles
Clucked behind weathered hands.
The prodigal returned, after the burying. 

Little Jake told me the story I missed
With the blow out and rock slide on the
Old road to where I didn’t’t want to go.
The telling honest as the child himself. 

“Mama kept us more or less off to ourselves,
But that day somebody was in a long gray box in the front room. 
That was why ever’body I know and most I don’t crowded 
The porch as if we were having a big old shiveree. 

The women kept pulling handkershiefs from their sleeves
And taking a swipe at every kid who came too near.
No one had caught me yet, onec’t Aunt Sudie come close.  

The guns were leaning aginst the maple tree, just a sapling.
Since I was running from Sudie that tree looked like a hidin’
Place with its pinwheel of rifles and a bit of shade. 
As I was ducking behind the carbines, I kicked a forty ought
And the blast scattered buckshot right at the chicken house. 

No one ran that distance from the porch to me faster than mama,
Yelling and grabbing and swinging. I might of died right there, 
But Uncle Ray grabbed me and Granny grabbed mama. 

‘Boy, there’s been enough guns lately. Get in the house
And set with your pappy. You’ll never see him again.’
I felt Popaw fall to pieces like a china cup had dropped
On a rock. I hate porches and kin and that long gray box.” 

I reached to comfort him but he darted away
Aiming to hide in in the dark barn, his sanctuary. 
Wonder if there is room for two? 

K. Bruce Florence