Miner’s Wife

c 2014 by Jan MacKell Collins

Women A 27

Miner’s Wife

Where were you then?
Were you locked away in your Mountain-cliff house?
Did you hear the breath of night
Whispering down your neck?
Did your dress dance across the dirt floor
As your man’s fiddle
Broke the cold glass night?

And before your man,
Were you a whore who found the Lord
When a bristle-faced stranger
Tipped you a gold nugget
And asked you to be his wife?
Or were you from a fine school
With a well-kept lawn,
Safe under your daddy’s heavy hand?

Where are you now?
Are you still locked away in your mountain-cliff house?
Or under leaves in a hole off the highway
Where a tourist may stalk the picture on your stone
And read your “good mother” epitaph.

I think you were adventurous, woman.
You were the adventure.
You are in your children and their children,
Still seeking that new frontier.
I think sometimes I feel you
When the sea air licks my ear
And my man’s Monday night football
Breaks the night.

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