Green cactus; Red rock

Green cactus; Red rock
photo by Linda Hoffman Kimball

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No Good Deed

No Good Deed…
By Linda Hoffman Kimball

He leans against the stair rail,
Wiping the gritty blood off his chin.
Staggering up, he spits out a black molar.
“Curse you, hag, and your iron pot.
One time I actually eat your stew
With no complaining, and here’s my thanks.”

He can hear her down in the root cellar
Moaning and wailing, not piping down yet,
Rattling the chain and shrieking.

“Nope, I told you he ain’t down there.
And no food neither, woman!”
He hollers sideways and bruisy.

“Ain’t been real food for weeks and you knows it.
You oughta be thanking me
For being so resourceful.
All those weeks near to starving and
The answer to our needs
Right under our noses
( – mine’s probably broke now –)
And we, all this time, not never noticing.

“God do provide now, don’t He.
So I done it up right like a grateful Christian.
And didn’t I come back right on time
Like I said I would
From the woods with meat all cleaned and cleaved,
Ready for that damn pot?
Why are you carrying on so?
You even said you liked it after that first bite,
Wondering was it squirrel or rabbit.

Shut yer caterwauling and get back up here.
We’re fed now, so it’s done and done.
And when you come up,

Bring his collar with you.
He don’t need it no more, and
It might make a broth if we boil it down.

Today I attended “Prairie Writers Day,” an excellent day-long conference sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators of Illinois. We heard many variations on the main parts of any good story: Character, Plot and Voice. I decided to riff a little on that, and, while it probably isn’t really appropriate for children’s lit, it was a fun (if twisted) romp.

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