The Froward Child

froward, adj. not easily controlled; willful; contrary.

The froward child

Was taken to church every Sunday.


In the pew,

With her sharp stick voodoo dolls

She played.

You will never be nothin'

So says Mama.

Nobody gonna like you 'less I pay 'em to,

Says Mama and she brooks no sass.

The froward child

Found a mangey rib-striped dog in the street.

She give it a donut.

Just like that, they tight as ticks.

That dog

Never like Mama,

Growl down deep,

Park itself on the rag rug and when she put down her bible and raise her broom,

He show rows of white teeth

And his scorn.

The froward child say,

C'mon, sugar,

And the dog up and rise,

Ready to follow her through hell or hailstorm.

Mama say,

When that child go to prison one day,

That animal prolly follow her through the gate.

One day,

The dog die,

And the froward child

Cry til it damn near kill her.

She would like to gone with him if she could.

The froward child

Don't believe in nothing you can hold in your hand.

She believe in

Spirits and magic,

Omens, fate,

And floods across the land.

She say,

I live in a hollow tree

And cover myself with the midnight.

The froward child

Is a woman now,

Got gray at the root

But, by sorcery, look young as tomorrow morning.

She got a new dog

And feed 'im steak;

Then she grind the beef bones

And blow the dust of them up, off her palm,

Bringing the Winter.

Mama say,

She die out there,

With that creature she love so much.

Mama say,

It prolly eat her when she do,

And then I say

I told you so.

But Mama don't know.

Mama don't know her ass from next Tuesday,

And neither do her preacher nor her doctor nor her sons that be the same as her.

When the froward child freeze,

When her heart slow down in the snow, like a fire burning out,

It the dog what drag her back,

Wrap his self around her

And love her enough she keep breathin'

Til Mama die

And the Spring arrive

With mad flowers growing wild all directions

From the fields and in her eyes.



Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oh my freaking God, this is so wonderful I cant stand it! You have magic. I so love "ready to follow her through hell or hailstorm", "cover myself with the midnight", "young as tomorrow morning", blowing the bone dust to bring winter, "dont know her ass from next Tuesday"........this must have been inspired by the wise gypsy woman who lives inside you. It is truly brilliant, and moving, and absolutely mind-blowing. And, well, perfect! Whew!
Kay said…

love the language here. mama don't always know best...

very cute.
ellen abbott said…
again. you've done it again.
Lynn said…
The dialect makes this so descriptive.
Bubba said…
I really liked your voice in this one, Shay... great personality!

I admit I had to look up the word 'froward' - somehow I knew it wan't a typo of 'forward' - in case anyone is wondering, it's an adjective meaning
willfully contrary; not easily managed.

(I though it was a slang term meaning 'heading towards an afro' - LOL!)
Ileana said…
Mama may not know her ass from next Tuesday, but YOU, my know LOTS. This is brilliant!
Riot Kitty said…
I love anything involving voodoo dolls and church.
Tabitha Bird said…
SHAY!!!! That was amazing! Seriously amazing. That Mama. My. god. I'd like to kick her ass into next tuesday :)
TALON said…
I read it and re-read and then re-re-read it and loved it more each time. :)
Unknown said…
Hi your sass and such as it always izz.....all fizzy and and flowering with magic
Susannah said…
Wow, Wow, Wow!!! I LOVE it, you sure can write! ;-)
Kelly said…
*hugs mah snoopy*.... you've always recognised real love. The tone of voice, the speech, just makes this poem 'stand out' - truly wonderful writing, just like you xx
steveroni said…
Entranced! Whatever is the meaning of that word...that's what I AM.
Mojo said…
Shoot honey, you shore ya'll from Dee-troit? 'Cause you tell this story like Suthun' molasses. Sweet an slow.
Jinksy said…
Every visit to yuor blog brings forth new delights...
hedgewitch said…
By far the heaviest of these poems about yourself and your mother. By far. Which is saying a lot. But this one seems to at last be really on the other side looking back. Thanks Shay, for writing this.

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