Gather round everyone, hear my story, I promise it will be anything but boring. Look into your minds, deep, deep within, But be careful, cause it’s hard to come back again.
It was so dark that night, no stars in the sky. Not even the moon to see a trail by. You could hear the owls, hooting in the trees. And an occasional whippoorwill’s song in the breeze.
The light shone on the tiny cabin's porch, and the Creak of the swing as it glided back and forth. An old hound dog, aging many, many years,
Lay by an old wooden rocker, occasionally scratching its ears. On the broken porch step she sat, arms folded in her lap. By her side, lay shadow, her faithful black cat.
Once they had been young, but age had caught them now
Well they were all alone, so it didn't really matter anyhow.
A sigh passed her lips, and a single tear cleared her eye,
with her wrinkled hand, she brushed it, promising herself she wouldn't cry.
Her face once smooth, was now wrinkled and lined,
but that always happened when you aged before your time.
She had loved once, but where did he go?
He had promised to return, with the newly fallen snow. But he had not and many, many years had been left behind.
He had sworn hadn't he, or had that only been in her mind?
The old grandfather clock, chimed the midnight hour,
and still she sat, and silently stared.
He asked her to wait for him, and she had.
She raised her arthritic fingers to stare at the gold band.
They had been married only a year, when he went away,
and it hurt so much, because it was twenty years ago today.
She had a hard time of it the first year,
but he had written her letters, trying to still her fears.
She rose from the step, stretching as she did.
Oh, her old aching bones were so slow to mend.
She hobbled in the house, her ankle was swelled,
it had been twisted last night, when she fell down the step.
In the hallway was a mirror, attached to the wall She looked, and smoothed her white hair, though it didn't really matter at all.
Candles burned in her bedroom, smell of fresh berries filled the air Why she still lit them was a mystery, she never slept in there.
She reached for an old cigar box, her memories past,
hopes and visions of a future that didn't last.
Back on the porch, she sat on the swing. And opened her little box of what once had been her dreams.
She picked up the matchbook from the Red Roof Inn. It was on their honeymoon, that’s where it all began.
The love they shared so special and sweet. He was her love, her life, her dream.
An old pocket watch, he gave her to hold, father to son, and down again, ageless and old.
It hadn't worked in quite a long while,
but things like this never went out of style.
Her fingers were cramping, not so long ago, arthritis had claimed them.
But this was something she had to do though her eyesight was getting dim. It had been put off way too long,
and she wondered why something so right, turned out to be so wrong.
Next was a letter wrinkled with time,
some of the words were faded, but she remembered every line. They called him to come, his country needed him but she needed him, instead of them.
She promised to wait, this she had done,
but he never returned after the war began,
so still she waited, where was he?
No word, no hope now she had even lost her dreams.
She tried to face the fact that he would never return,
and such a pain hit her heart, she felt her soul burn.
She could have found another, many had called,
but none, could compare to him at all.
Their wedding picture, her beautiful white dress. They couldn't afford it, she told him, but he wanted her to have the best.
He had looked so handsome in his borrowed suit,
even though he had to wear his old work boots.
Money was scarce, times were really hard,
but they were luckier than most, they had crops from their farm.
It had fallen to her, when he went away,
and as old as she was, she still farmed to this day.
Maybe that was why she felt so old,
that and the fact, she had remained alone.
Her head ached now, and a wolf howled in the distance,
and the pounding in her head became so insistent.
Though she promised herself she wasn't going to cry,
she felt the tears fill her eyes.
Once they started they wouldn't slow,
and she quit fighting the flow.
She picked up the folded letter laid to the side. This was the letter, the one that held her mind. "I am writing this letter today to inform you" She really didn't need to finish because she knew.
"Your husband is missing in action, we are doing what we can,"
so short and simple, lack of emotion,
a letter for a good man that still held her devotion.
© Cynthia Clark