Once On An Alabama Evening

When the fireflies flashed
and crickets chirped,
I waited for my father
on the front porch,
its boards rotting with years and rain;
meanwhile Mama cooked fatback and biscuits
in the kitchen
on the wood-burning stove,
flour-laced sweat
trickling down her weary face.

Lazy as the ticked hound
sprawled in the cool sunset shade
of the giant oak,
time was all I had
to look forward to
in those post-Depression days --
except the sound
of his dilapidated log truck
clackety-clacking down the dusty road,
bringing mayonnaise, city bread, and bananas
he could afford
when he'd sold a few logs,
and sometimes chocolate drops,
if he'd squeezed his pennies tight.

Kicking up sand in the grassless yard,
barefooted I would race
to meet his sawdust hug,
hear the soft crunch
of the sack in his hand.

Copyright 1994 Ruth Gillis

"Once On An Alabama Evening" received a
First Place Award in the March 1995 issue of Lucidity.

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