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"In the Echoes of My Mind"

I can still see Mary pushing 
her latest child in the old 
coach with the broken wheel. 
That "clacking " noise it made 
let me know she was coming 
when she was a block away. 

She always had a vague 
expression on her face, as
though she was only half 
awake, and I always wondered 
if she could talk, for I never
heard her make a sound in 
all the years she lived in town. 

Her husband (Happy) looked 
like the grandfather in the Beverly 
Hillbillies, and never smiled,
 and it amused me to hear folks call 
him by name, for I'm sure his mouth 
had always turned upside-down. 

They lived in a little shack near 
the movie, and on Saturday 
afternoons we stood in line 
for the matinee and had to 
pass their one-room house.
The door was always open and
it always amazed me that
so many people could sleep in
one bed, and that the color of
their sheets was not white,
but grey. 

One day I walked by, and they
 were gone.
Old Mary died, they said, and
Hap turned those kids over to the
county, and then he traveled on.
I can still see poor Mary, sorting 
through the trash and tucking 
some treasure deep inside
that coach, 
I can still hear the "clackety 
clack it made,
in the echoes of my mind. 

copyright November 2000 
Judith Anne Labriola 

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