saw maw at the hootnhanny,
fired up and mean
said twenty of her chickens went missing
and 'someone was gonna git it'.
the room stood still,
except for the curtins near an open window
waving white like a surrender
instruments stopped and dancers unimbraced.
'who d' hell you think you are?', wanting no response
'comin' up in here takin' my chickins,
you need some food, i'll cook you up some livers,
but my babies eat the chickins'.
a rush of ease hit the room,
maw seemed more relaxed, more forgiving than when she entered
suddenly, a man stepped forward and confessed.
'i's sorry miss dessie, i reck'n it was me who took them chickins'
maw came over to the man, the room quieted again,
she stood there, nose to nose with the short and ragged looking man.
rage and empathy filled her eyes with tears,
the man stood weakly and awkwardly
wondering if he was going to eat fried livers tonight.
'you a damned sorry excuse for a man, you fool.
had t' go and steal my chickins.
right now i have mind t' punch you out,
oh, i could do it, you know i could do it,
you little man, you burgla', stealin' man,
too layzyy to go git a job.'
she stood there unblinking as his face contorted
and his eyes twithched uncontrollably.
'i's sorry miss dessie, you forgive me?'
she was considering this and the answer was not evident to her.
'i guess i can say i forgives you honey, but you a sorry man.
take those twenty chickins and fry 'em up good'.
looking at me she ordered potatoes to be boiled and loaves of bread.
canned green beans would have to do and iced tea and beer were already abundant.
the music started up, fast and in tune.
a man with a summer suit and straw hat played bluegrass,
sweat pouring off as he beat the stage with both feet,
playing his guitar box with cyclonic precision,
crying blue stories above the noise of the room
children dancing in the front with various noisemakers,
adults sitting close in the dark back, having adult thoughts and laughing.