from the hills down south

today i met an older lady with a dazzling smile
and lively, mischievous eyes
she was having a good day, not hearing so well
but otherwise pleasant and enjoying our talk
she grew up in the hills down south
where french names are pronounced as spelled
(as with the “x” on st. croix)
and where her family is buried in a church cemetery
up on one of those hills but for the life of her
she can’t remember which town

anyway, she grew up with ten brothers and sisters
milking cows, feeding chickens and pigs, and tending the garden
mom and dad were strict she said with emphasis
but neighborly kind and they got along with the catholics
(one of their daughters married a catholic boy)
in a place where people attended church suppers
at all the churches, even if they weren’t members there
she’ll go back home, sooner rather than later, i imagine
and join her family up on the hill
in that little town that few remember

this sweet, kind, gentle woman with dementia
didn’t have much furniture in her room
and her daughter said it was because one day
mom took a saw and hammer to it and destroyed every piece
(that’s when they put up the tools)

i said a prayer for her at the end of my visit
(keeping a wary eye)
and then i headed for the hills

One thought on “from the hills down south

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