How could one know, if friend or foe
at the door this time of night,
persistently pounding, eerily resounding
their echoes compounding the fright?
Donning a jacket to check the racket,
easing on cold slippers as well;
armed with a bat, inquiring, "Who's that?"
expecting the answer to tell.
"Jackson McClure, from Bon Temps Secours,"
the voice through the door replied.
"My car's broken down, half way to town,
to doctor's for fear uncle's died.
If you would loan the use of your phone
I'd forever remain in your debt."
"Happy to help, old Aneous' whelp,
your mama alive and well, yet?"
The door opened wide to let him inside
to a phone hung high on the wall;
the doctor came first, then he rehearsed
to homefolks, his reason to call.
He tried to relate whose was the gate
he'd entered this time of night,
whose was the house he'd had to arouse
to help in the midst of his plight,
"First on the right, the bridge still in sight,
a white frame, back off of the road."
As if he'd done wrong, he was lectured long
by someone, hotly dumping a load.
Though Jackson confused, I was amused
it too sweet to keep a straight face,
that Aneous McClure once more to endure
a debt to the one he'd replace.
Long years before, they'd settled a score
for the hand of a lovely young beauty.
Aneous had won but problems had begun
when Annie said no to this duty.
Families insisted, so soon there existed
accommodation to family not heart;
she loved another, unwilling to recover
from passions she'd not let depart.
Thirty years later in deja theater
actors on stage in some way,
seemingly fate had, intentionally created
Time would trick us, try to depict us
as if years leave love the same,
but not so for Romeo, Portia or Scorpio,
fini, still the end of their game.
Jackson McClure, no history to endure
had pondered why all this fuss,
why folks held fast to things in the past,
memories too painful to discuss.
At this time of night, close to daylight
was no time, such things to get straight,
his call being through, he bid an adieu
to this stranger who'd opened his gate.
It meant more to me, that young man to see
than I had casually let on;
my heart aflutter, I began to mutter
that by-gones ought to stay gone.
What had been hidden, returned, unbidden,
feelings so alive yesteryear,
the passage of time, not abating my crime
bitter still, the sting of that tear.
--Don Juan de Feu
copyright 1998, The Goober Tree Press, all rights reserved