“Stealin’ from the Dead” by K. Bruce Florence
Mommy moved in with us about a week ago.
Seems the coal company boys is about tired
Of the widow women filling up all the houses
Along the dusty row moving on up the holler.
I had to take her to the doctor today, but
When we got back that thievin’ Bobby Ray had
Filled his truck with Orville’s tackle box and fly rods.
Orville thought the world of his precious gear.
They was about all he had left of his daddy’s things.
And he never lived long enough to stop missing
His daddy and all the fun they had together.
Them rods and flies always made him smile.
So good old Bobby Ray thinks he can just
Walk in here with my back turned and help
Himself to the best memory Orville ever had.
Killing is a mortal sin, but I swear if I coulda
Got my hand to a gun right then, it would
Have taken more man than that sniveling
Bobby Ray to keep me from killing him.
The Bobby Ray’s of this world are very bad
Fooled if they think being a widow has made
Me a simpleton just waitin’ to be walked on.
Orville might have been the man in this house,
But he kept it a big secret that right behind him
Was about the meanest woman he ever knowed.
The world wants to make me out to be a strange
New person who can’t make butter with sweet milk.
But deep inside me is the same woman who
Slept with her man, loved him, bore his kids,
Tended crops and kept all of us decent.
If you see or hear tell of that sneaking rat, it
Might be good if you warned him to get off
This mountain and stay for good. Being dead
Lasts a good long time and his tombstone would
Be a fine example for anyone else’s trifling ways.
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K. Bruce Florence Artist Statement:
K. Bruce Florence mountain raised, bleeding kudzu and cornbread will tell you she
is a new woman, just born, tossed from a chrysalis of love and companionship into a
demanding world, unlike the one she left to become half of someone else. Widow,
mother, college builder, student, cooker of meals for the bereaved, radio host, columnist
and holding on hard as she learns, breathes deep and works discovering that life has as
many beginnings as we are brave enough to grab. Her love of the sea taught her long
ago that each wave bears an abundance of weight, challenge and reward if we will but
ride the crest to its end.