Sunday, February 16, 2014

Martha Mary and Me

The day gently hushed to an end.
The western sky was a burning velveteen curtain,
Falling as vermilion ash to the blackened peaks on the horizon.

I was resting in the old battered porch swing.
I heard the front screen door rattle and the whine of the rusty spring.

She came gracefully into my sight,
Placed a wizened hand on my shoulder,
And descended beside me like an autumn sprite.

I nodded my head and patted her on the hem of her gown.
She turned to me and the sunset accented her tender frown.

“Beautiful evening, isn’t it, Martha Mary?”
I placed my arm around her cold, thin back.

“It is at that,” She grinned.
“Yes, it is a fine evening, Jack.”

We sat silently watching the ruddy sun shyly hide its face behind the mountains.

As the dusk grew, she began to fidget a little, I guessed to keep warm.
She was probably thinking about Them, and when They would come.
I hugged her closer, until she was nestled in my strong, young arm.
She tucked her arm through mine.

“Yes, Martha Mary,” I softly spoke her fear.
“They will soon be coming here.”

She nodded against my side and placed her withered hand on my thigh.

“I’m really not afraid, Jack.”
She said with a cautious sigh.

“I know you’re not, Martha Mary.”
I nodded with a smile, quiet and calm.
I brushed her soft white hair awhile with my callused palm.
“I know you aren’t.”

“Get the swing going, honey.”
I did, pushing back and letting go.

The creak of the rusty eyebolts sang of death,
Along with the crickets and the wheeze of breath.

“How could anyone ever be afraid of the angels, Jack?”

“Some are, Martha Mary,” I said. “Most aren’t.”

The darkness calmly shrouded us in a comforting gloom,
As we waited for the time to roll towards doom.

“Do you remember how old I am?”
She asked me, peering up to find my eyes.
Hers so warm. Hers so wise.

I nodded; even knowing she could not see me.
“Yes, Martha Mary,”
I hugged her tighter to me.
“You are seventy-three.”

“How old are you now, Jack.”

“Why, Martha Mary,”
I stopped to dredge my mind.
“I believe that I am twenty-eight years.”
She nodded her head against my side, dampened with her tears.

“It has not been long enough, Jack, but life has been kind.”

I looked up from her and stared into the night.
I caught the gleam of distant fairy light.

“They are here, Jack, my son.”
She started to stand up.
I held her and brought her back down.

“We still have a few more minutes,”
I said leaning my head down to hers as she lifted her face.
I gave her my last kiss and final embrace.

The insect songs seemed to die away, smothered by a nightfall cocoon.
We clung to each other in the blanketed darkness, knowing the light to come soon.

© 2013 Charles M. Baker III