It was my first experience with death.
Just a tot standing with family on the back
porch, watching pigs take refuge under
the big pecan tree during a thunderstorm.
I still see flashes of light ripping through
the darkening skies. I still anticipate
the next clap of thunder rattling aluminum
dipper in cedar bucket suspended over
the water well at the steps. I still imagine
God in His heaven hurling thunderbolts
with perfect precision onto the whole world.
Suddenly a boom—sows and piglets fall
to the ground like they have been silenced
by a sniper’s bullet. A family scrambles
for the screened door leading to perceived
Death came that August afternoon, not
as a creeper or stalker, but as a brazen,
in-your-face, got-cha Death that shook
the house from its foundation. I remember
holding fast to my daddy’s leg, watching
my mother press her fingers to her temple
as if that gesture would save us from
the same fate as the animals lying a few
hundred feet away, as motionless as the
pyramid of skulls in Cezanne’s still-life.
The next scene is family along a yellow
chromed, formica-topped dinette table,
I on my daddy’s knee, eating lemon ice
cream, his favourite. On that day,
it was my favourite, too.
Jo Taylor is a retired, 35-year English teacher from Georgia. Her favourite genre to teach high school students was poetry, and today she dedicates more time to writing it, her major themes focused on family, place, and faith. She says she writes to give testimony to the past and to her heritage. She has been published in several print and on-line journals, including The Ekphrastic Review, and in 2021 she published her first collection of poems, Strange Fire.
The Ekphrastic Review
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