Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Ties that Bind

It's been decades since we left you on this farm. There's no path to follow, no recent footsteps to lead the way. My daughter Misty, is by my side. She's determined to help me find your grave. The gravediggers are behind us. The same funeral home that brought you here have returned, like an old friend, to take you to your new resting place.

I close my eyes and lean into the fear of not finding you. Surely memory will lead me to your 6 feet of red clay near the top of this hillside where we used to play.

All those years of stepping up, being our hero, wore heavily on you. I never saw your scars until they brought you to Granny’s house one last time. I stood by your casket and cried. Your eyes were black, your nose was broken and your knuckles were bruised and scraped. Your fighting days were over. They ended on St. Patrick's Day 1977.

James from the funeral home is going in front of us now and I am more hopeful of finding you. I try to lift my feet out of the woven briars and grass around my ankles. The air is cold and wet. Thick woody briars and grass close in around us. I raise my arms to protect my face and I see you. You’re playing poker at our kitchen table. You are taking their money and laughing. When the fighting starts, you will win. You always win. Near the top, a cold wind blows and we're not playing anymore. The gravediggers are leaving. I want to be brave and keep looking, but I'm not brave like you. Misty put her around me. 
"Come on Momma, let's go get some help." 

Thorns pull at me like a thousand hands from the past,
Don't go.

The ties that bind hold us, still. 

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