Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Graveside Seats by Marion - A M'am Poem

Graveside Seats
By Marion

M'am set us up like
three scrawny ragdolls
(1-2-3 on the front row,
graveside), on maroon,
velveteen-covered folding chairs
from the local mortuary at
pap's funeral.  I were 5,
my sisters, 6 and 8.  We ought
not'a been there, much
less two feet from thet
yawning mouth of death
a'top of what balanced my
sweet pap in a fancy,
polished box with handles.

At the funeral house
we had to climb little steps
'specially put there for us
by the box he was in
to look into pap's dead,
waxy face.
He weren't really there; I could tell.
I ain't never seen my pap
out'a the house without one'a his
swanky fedora hats on his bald head
and somebody'd
forgot his hat.

It were the last day we ever wore
our pink, lacy, crinolined Easter
dresses with our shimmering, patent leather
mary janes & lace-trimmed socks.
Ever after we was mostly barefoot
and muddy...raggedy-poor.
M'am said
pap's mean first family
got all his money
and those fancy houses we'd lived in.

M'am got a job slingin' booze and
drinkin' her share of it, too, and we lived
with her sweet sister on a farm
and mostly raised our-own-selves.

I were fearless all my young life
till the day I seen my pap lowered
into thet dark hole right in front
of my horrified, little-girl eyes.

Fear jumped right out'a thet
deep, black, gaping hole and
glommed onto my tiny, child-soul

and it sits there still.



"Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody." ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1945



erin said...

marion! it is a ((formidable!)) poem. formidable. and right.

the word glommed feels like the rightful structure of the poem itself, but of course in the glomming the structure of the girl was born. holy holy. and one more for good measure, holy)))

but of course this is you.

but there is something in me that can't ask for a lick of a thing changed as you're so darned beautiful, and your life, deep and meaningful.


Kelly said...

Wow, Marion. This is powerful. Moving. I like it!

Karen said...

This is the BEST voice! I am reminded of Lee Smith. I want yo readou ma'm's story through Marion's eyes. Any chance of a chapbook?

Marion said...

Erin, just thank you for your words. I'm humbled every time "M'am" takes over my mind and hand. xoxo

Thank, Kelly. I appreciate your faithful friendship!! xo

Karen, I'm working on it. I'm not a fast writer due to my horrendously time-consuming reading habit. LOL!!! Thanks for stopping by. xo