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Contemplations

I stared into the gaping maw, wondering if it would swallow me whole as well.  The black dress Grandma had me wear itched, the cotton scratchy and rough.  I didn’t understand what was happening.  At my small three feet of height, the world seemed so much bigger.  Scary big.  And this hole?  I felt that I was standing on the edge of forever.

I tried to ease back, and stepped into my Pa.  He wore his stern face.  The face he wore when I broke the lamp.  And when the cow died last summer.  He motioned with his head, and I turned back around before he got sterner.  I just hated facing that black pit.  I tried to not squirm while the Pastor said his bit.  It must have been nice, since all the women were crying.  But I didn’t understand what he was saying, so I just stood and tried to look stern like Pa.

When the Pastor stopped talking, Pa nudged me in my back.  I stepped forward slowly, scared to death.  I held the rose out at arms length as far as I could stretch.  I dropped it and it hit the edge of the pit before falling down into the black.  One lone red petal remained

Afterward, the women came by and hugged me a lot.  Most of them smelled like powder and it made me sneeze once in a lady’s face.  Pa stood next to me, looking very stern and just nodding when anyone spoke to him.  After the last few trickled past, Pa put his hand on my shoulder.  I looked up and saw that all his sternness had faded away.  His eyes looked wet and he gave me a sad smile.

“Let’s go on home, Mae.  It’s gettin’ dark.”

I nodded and took ahold of his hand.  We walked, slow, back to the truck.  I looked back to see the men with shovels putting the dirt back in the hole.  It wouldn’t swallow me now.

To Be Continued . . . 

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Short Story

 

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Alternate Versions

A leaf falls
Winging through the autumn breeze

To the right and it lands
On the road
Violence by each passing car
Torn
Scattered
Until it is disintegrated into pieces

To the left and it lands
On a pile
By the tree
Now slow Time works
A creeping decay
Worms
Fungus
Until spring comes to grow in it another matter

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Poems

 

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