Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Jelly Bean Smith


The Feed and Seed

This feed store, filled with fly bait
and the musty scent of alfalfa bundled,
centers the world of Josiah Smith,

known as Jelly Bean to every
Mesquite Bend local.  He runs
the old munitions-factory-turned-city-heart,
this place where even the women
from the Tea Club gather
to share gossip and peppermint sticks
Jelly Bean keeps in a large, glass jar
on the wooden counter smoothed

by years of transactions filled with men’s sweat
and the honesty of a sturdily shaken hand.
Only Molly Nunnelly never ventures
into the aisles of threepenny nails
and cattle feed, through the inventory
of d-rings and nylon rope that Jelly Bean
carries in his very cells.  Sweet Molly

who moons after Jack Long, the one
Molly has loved since all of them made mud pies
in the back of the cemetery, scaring
each other with stories about the ghosts
of scalped ancestors.  Even after Roberta Watts
walked down the aisle with him, Molly still
watches Jack with dreamy eyes
Jelly Bean would give all
his coveted fly traps to own.

But Jelly Bean, well past thirty,
hopes as he watches Molly in her pew
every Sunday, her hair in perfect ringlets
hugging the stiff collars of her best dresses.
Only old Ben Hurley knows Josiah
is more man than any of them.  Who
would answer to a childhood cruelty
except a man more than comfortable
in his lonely skin?

 

Ramona Levacy
April 4, 2015

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Author:

I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

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