Saturday, September 29, 2012

Country Air

photo by Susie Clevenger

Screams carry clean
through country air,
through unlocked doors, through open windows

when vinegar splashes
sun blistered skin, 
and cruelty is the price of being small. 

Words warp to starker howls.
Survival strips the curtains down,
and she cocoons

in a makeshift shroud
burning,
burning.

Screams carry clean
through country air.
Lock the doors.  Close the windows. 

For the Sunday Challenge at Real Toads 

23 comments:

Sylvia K said...

I'm ready for Halloween now for sure! Great one for the day!!

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

All too often, too true
~rick

goldberrygreening said...

Such sharp, harsh syllables... well done.

Gail said...

I remember vinegar being the remedy for sunburn.

Luckily my reality did not have cruelty.

Very well done.

Brian Miller said...

you sent me in a different direction with your close..thinking of how many close the doors and windows to the screams....

Mary said...

Very intense, MZ. Whew. My windows are closed!

PattiKen said...

Sometimes closing the windows and locking the doors just traps the pain inside. Powerful piece, MZ,

hedgewitch said...

Stark and uncompromising, and far scarier than any fiction.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You took me right there, and made me remember.......powerful, kiddo!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

All of a sudden I want to lock the doors.

Laurie Kolp said...

Yes, those screams do carry. Powerful poem.

flipside records said...

This reminds me of Carrie and the mother's twisted notion that purity could be achieved through the bitterness of "vinegared" cleansing. Life is very different "out in the country."

I would imagine she is being punished for being gone too long, playing outside, perhaps even having run away. This is the "I'll show you who's boss" type of punishment.

Excellent framing created by the parallels in the opening and closing stanzas.

This line is incredible: "Survival strips the curtains down"

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm reading American Psycho so things like this make me twitch and gibber to my bones... I'm hyper-sensitive to cruelty, so I don't even want to imagine the scene happening just a little way up this peaceful country road.
Your writing is so starkly uncompromising, and I know someone has to tell the unmentionable tales. Kudos.

Heaven said...

Terrific writing MZ~ The first and last stanza weaving, opening and closing is specially good ~

Marion said...

kinda makes us poor, redneck, stupid, ignorant country folk sound like stereotyped serial killers. puuullleeeze!

Marian said...

shit this one just twisted my gut.

Fireblossom said...

I didn't comment last night because 1) I wasn't sure I understood what was actually going on here, and 2) the first comment gave me a brain cramp, thinking I must be on the wrong page, or something.

After reading Gail's comment, I gather that vinegar is/was a home remedy for sunburn? But it feels to me like there is something much more sinister happening here, and that there's no help coming from people who don't want to be involved. Maybe I'm over-reading.

Cad said...

A macabre undertow created with few words...

Hannah said...

I'm feeling the same way that Fireblossom is on this...Mama Zen, you really, really evoke some powerful feeling/emotion and imagery here. Very well written.

Susan said...

. . . because if you hear, you are responsible; if you let it be heard, you are condemned. How vivid you make the "price of being small." I had read that in Maine, where women and children are more isolated, that abuse is quite high and services less. It's hard to think of some of the stillness of country air being this horrid song.

Susie Clevenger said...

This has such power. We close ourselves of to the pain of another so we don't have to get involved.

Ella said...

Well Done!
This so reminds me of being a pickle or in a pickle~
Abuse lives everywhere~

Strong thoughts guide this poem!

Herotomost said...

Wow...this has a depth and breadth that could carry an entire movie, and in such few words. You may just be the queen of brevity, you know how to turn Mr. hand into Mr. fist and punch us with stark reality. Great writing.