Vox Populi

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David Huddle: Even Then I knew

for Lisa Fay Coutley

Our mother was often desperate
because of my brothers and me—once

she threw the dish drainer at Charles,
slapped the back of Bill’s head so that

his face plopped down into his spaghetti
and what did she get for that? More boy

guffaws in our victory over her self-control.
Our mother wore little mascara, served her sentence

of three sons in a house at the end of a dirt road
in a time of no post-it notes, two channels on TV,

no shrinks, no antidepressants, and her only role model
was Mrs. Perkins who one afternoon rode Toby’s bicycle

down Church Hill, skirts fluttering over her thighs,
to buy a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Decorum

meant everything to our mother, and if someone had told
my brothers and me that mothers can drive away,

that would have frozen us in place like a game
of statues before Charles would have said Oh yeah,

and where would she go? and Bill would have said Maybe
down to the Post Office? And me? I’d have been

scared, because I loved her way more than my Roy Rogers
silver cap pistols with their white fringed holsters,

but finally I’d have found something real
funny to say.


Copyright 2018 David Huddle


David Huddle’s many books include Dream Sender (Louisiana State University Press, 2015.

5 comments on “David Huddle: Even Then I knew

  1. Matthew Huddle
    August 15, 2018

    Toward the end, when she could still think straight, Granny shared memories of her handsome boys, blackberry pies and magic tricks here and there. Her memories would fade out from time to time but the biscuits would keep rollin’ out the oven. Butter, honey, hillbilly bliss.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrea Hollander
    August 12, 2018

    What a rich poem, David. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia A. Nugent
    August 11, 2018

    Women were so desperate in those days to have more than the little they had – many still have reason to feel desperate. I thought about my mother-in-law running away from her three young kids – to behind the garage, where they could see her through the kitchen window. Thank you for reminding us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Harriet Scott Chessman
    August 11, 2018

    SO beautiful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tricia Knoll
    August 11, 2018


    Liked by 1 person

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