the dead wife

The dirt floor had to be leveled
And all the stones raked out,
Carried out in buckets and piled
In the yard as ballast against
The bowed foundation of the south wall.
There were boulders and bluestone
Slabs, some big as gravestones to haul out.

Damp evenings, working alone
In dim light with nothing
But the sound of shovel steel
On rock for a soundtrack,
The mind wanders, and I found myself
Sure I’d uncover that body:
First a bone sticking up, followed
By a brown skull with bad teeth.

Some long ago farmer must have buried
A hated wife, a defective baby,
Or a child dead from consumption.
And I could picture the old geezer, some
100 years earlier, looking maybe like me,
Only guilty, shirtless and sweating
While he shoveled alone by candlelight,
Getting rid of the evidence.

No one ever asked after
The missing family member.
After all, life was hard then.
Later, when he walked to town
In his soiled overalls, if he ever did,
It was simply old farmer so-and-so,
Who himself would soon be dead.

As for me, it took many nights
To clear out the rock,
But I did, and then I mixed the concrete
And poured the floor by hand,
Sealing up my fantasy—
Another unsolved town murder
Lost to progress.

–Carl Watson


Poetry

4 thoughts on “the dead wife

  1. i know intuitively that you performed that task in real time and corpireal space. and that you wandered those images as you did. and as always shared it with us in diamond sharp imagery
    We see that farmer man of 100 yrs ago
    placing his secret in the soil rock time capsule . we see him trudge thru town.
    we know him through you. we do not judge
    as you do not. thanks Carl as always,
    Rudy in Hawaii.

  2. Hey Carl. I intuitively know you performed that task in real time and corporeal space and wandered those images as you did so
    And as always shared them with us in diamond sharp imagery , We see that farmer man of 100 yrs ago burying his secret in the earthrock time capsule. We see him trudge thru town. We do not judge
    as you do not. We get more human.
    thanks carl as always, Rudy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.