Sunday, January 15, 2012


A shadow box, a snippet of a poem and an excerpt from The Daimon

                Where do beasts go when they’re not with you?

                Who else has known the beast?
                The little girl has seen the beast...
                The little girl holding her chickens
                Gathered dress.
                Yet, she doesn’t carry a stick
                When she goes for a walk.

                “Snake in the yard!” yelled her brother, Joseph, as Little Elisabeth sat, playing in the dirt.
                 Drawing abstract configurations, trailed by her stick to a faraway land.  To a place, perhaps, where the Yorubas carved the same pattern in their faces, unfamiliar to a five year old.  To be imagined, not from the influence of television or National Geographic magazines, for those things were not present in her home, but from the consciousness of knowing.  Accompanied by the soft buzzing sound of the atoms, Elisabeth had been composing.                
               “Get the hoe!” Momma commanded, “I’ll get Daddy!” 
                Little Elisabeth’s hand froze in mid-motion.  Her intuition clung to the resonation of her brother’s cry, locating the snake within her mind’s eye.  She turned her head to see Joseph running for the hoe, and there beyond her--a few feet--coiled a rattler, threatening to strike. 
                Waiting seemed like eternity.  Clinging to the powdery dirt, Elisabeth’s toes cramped with stillness, sensed the energy of pending violence vibrating the earth.   She could hear Daddy cursing as his deliberate stride covered the yard.  He had come from milking, for he recognized Momma’s sharp “Daddy” cry while resting his head against the cow’s warm body.  Lulled by the rhythmic sing song of milk squirting into a bucket, a hypnotically pulsating motion of hands squeezing tits--a daily chore that Daddy did to give his family sustenance.  He had been spirited away through lifetimes.  Little Elisabeth knew that Daddy would come though, like a warrior, strong and tall. 
                Standing next to her, he swung the hoe, ordering, “Run!” with one breathless unified motion. 
                Little Elisabeth ran.  She cried.   She shook.  Clinging to the inner folds of Momma’s skirt, Little Elisabeth could hear Daddy’s grunt, synchronized with the rattle of the snake.  Then the striking of the metal blade, as Daddy chopped off its head.  Peeking out, Elisabeth saw it lying just outside the encircling border of where she had sat and drawn. 
                Little Elisabeth watched her nine year old brother hesitantly approach Daddy, to walk with him, as he carried “The Kill,” dangling headless from the crook of the hoe, to be flung out across the perimeter of the yard.  As if on cue from an unknown source, Elisabeth’s favorite rooster crowed, releasing the tension in the air.   And Momma, as usual, had to nudge her youngest one from underfoot.
                “Go on now!  Go gather the eggs, before it gets too dark.”
                Elisabeth dragged her feet, side-stepping toward the hen-house, trailing her right big toe from the outer circle she had drawn.  Like a spider spinning a dragline, she reeled in Viola to give her courage.  Little Elisabeth knew that snakes feed on chicken eggs. 


  1. Wow-what a story that is!And just wonderfully written--I was right there!!

    1. Janet, I appreciate the encouraging feedback because I fuss and fuss before posting. Gennie