And some days, even the rocks cry out.
Heaven spoke today, and in that exquisitely
ridiculous thunder all I heard was His
displeasure that one as base as me would
have found a way to gaze on a creature
as fair as Helen Clovis Tate of Habersham.
Before today I had not seen her since the
day we cooked Grandma Clara’s wicked wasps.
To her golden locks, time had only added
a soft countenance that was both winsome and
seductive. Her gait, so splendidly jouncy
that I should go quite faint at this very
moment just at the thought of it.
She too, saw my face from afar and ran over in
a flush. New to town, when she looked into my
eyes, she saw home. She saw me. And remembered.
In a flash, my heart could only desire that some sudden
calamity or violent plaque might erupt en masse
leaving only she and I alive on this dreadful sphere.
Remember it was the summer of ’34 and she came for the second
time to my Grandma Clara’s farm. Helen and her mother
arrived in the darkest hours of a muggy Georgian night –
for Spring had retreated early that year despite the
late frost that took so many peaches. I heard them whispering
and awoke to the sound of young Helen sliding beneath
my summer sheets. I did not move as she curled herself
behind me. Before I could whisper, sleep took sweet Helen
away from this world and the pain of those purple bruises.
When I awoke the Summer heat had already set in, I turned
at once to find my bed empty.
Even at the end of this day, knowing my darling has returned, I
cannot seem to shake the terrible joy in reviving those images
of that Great Calamity I’d seen earlier in my grim mind’s eye.
Death covered the whole of the world. And it was only I.
I and my love, Helen, left to sort through the ghastly and macabre scene.
Mountains of dead, and all I could do was laugh.
~ VBM 9/6/37, Marble Hill, GA
~ The first day of tenth grade up at that marble school over in Tate, Ga.