S.I.D.S. left you cold and motionless. I wondered where you went to in the night. You left your warm dry bed where hours ago you and your sister cooed and played with your toes. You gave us no warning. No crying or gasping for final breath. I heard that you just floated away to heaven, without saying goodbye. They hurried us into the back room as if we were to believe nothing was wrong. But we saw your mother’s tears rolling down her cheeks. They put you in the cold earth and no one ever spoke to us about you.
His heart was formed from the black gumbo that filled the space between heaven and hell
It was a cloudy and rain soaked day when they lowered Eddie into his 8’ x 3’ x 6’ eternal home. The entire town was in attendance. Most people were still stunned at the news that our star athlete was dead. To listen to them talk, he was a saint. More like a God among men, a Messiah sent to us to deliver us to the Promised Land reserved for those who could call themselves ‘State Champions’.
Every business in town was closed and every man in town who wasn’t at the funeral was gathered down at Pappy’s bar. They sat around mourning in their own way, like men without pride tend to do, over beer and whisky. While every woman in town was busy frying chicken or making a casserole for after the funeral. All of them crying like the very heart and soul had been ripped from the town itself.
On the pulpit, Reverend Delkes was proclaiming that, “God has stretched out his arms and pulled young Edward James Walters to walk eternally at his side.”
Tears streamed down Momma Walter’s cheeks. William, Eddie’s father, stood by her side. Teeth clenched and jaw set so as to show no emotion. Eddie’s sister Mary stood beside them both, swaying back and forth like the Holy Spirit had entered her body and took possession of her. The boys wept because they knew any hope of their winning now was being covered with black gumbo. All the girls cried because they knew he was their best shot of getting out of this town.
But you and I know the truth Janice. You and I know what really happened so many years ago. We know that bastard got exactly what he deserved. But your soul is still tied up in knots from his hands and I will live with the blood on mine and gladly give more. If only I could move the clock backwards for you. To that Friday before he ripped away your innocence.
Submitted by Jerry Brotherton
We emptied her room today
Faded photos of a mother
Holding children whose faces
That we can barely recall
We emptied her closet today
Clothes from summers and winters
Too long ago to remember
Now just charity donations
We emptied her life today
Forgotten pieces and fragments
Tucked neatly into drawers
Given to her by…who knows
We cried for her today
Heads on shoulders
Arms holding each other
In fear we will not remember
We promised to save her love today
Tucked it deep into our hearts
Where the tears could not find it
To wash it away
We said goodbye to her today.
We said goodbye to her today