She removed the shears from his belly
where the blood lunged from the wound
Unlatching the silver buckle that
clung to his britches like a snake,
Odella pocketed the buckle
and whipped her husband with his
very own strap.
She figured she was finished
making his cornbread and his chitterlings
his buttermilk biscuits, his bowl of
beef and butternut stew.
She was done feediní his children
done ironing his pants
done asking for permission to go
see a doctor in town.
Odella left her pot-bellied man
in the middle of a melon patch
to bloat like summer.
Then she fixed her hair, put on her best
gingham dress, and packed her clothes
in a suitcase that looked like a tortoise
in its shell.
Her dead husband just starred up at heaven
like he might go there,
but she doubted it.
by Gary Simmons