A Sweet Gum Tree

waterfallsThrough a valley
A creek runs from the spring flooding.
Its water spills over the rocks like flowing glass
That does not shatter,
But splashes and splatters in drops.
Sunlight peers through the branches of a sweet gum tree
Whose limbs once cradled a child.

On the bank,
A wash pot squats over a kindled fire
When clothes need boiling.
A wash woman, she pokes the garments,
Punching them with her stick
Into the cauldron of soapy lye.
The rags bubble clean enough to be scrubbed,
Then rinsed, then stretched over brush to dry.

A wash woman,
Her hands crack, the knuckles knocked raw.
Bleeding from the ridges of the rub board,
They burn from the lye,
And the skin sheds.
Grateful, she’ll grasp with sandpaper claws
The tits of the family cow, and squeeze.

So soft, so warm,
The velvet bag will squirt its milky balm.
In a soothing stream, the gentle cream,
Will ease her feverish palms.
Later, she’ll dream of a sweet gum tree,
Whose branches sway in the breeze,
And she’ll stir in her sleep in the way of a child
Whose cradle is rocked with the leaves.
Anita Stubbs


Published by

My House of Many Rooms

I am a private person, but need a place to publish my writings, which have accumulated over the years.   I am in the autumn of my life, and feel the need to preserve some of what I have written in forms of poetry, short stories, and articles.  I have written one novel and now am working on my second one. I live quietly with my husband of 57 years, as of this coming November, in Texas.  My ancestors first came to Texas prior to the Civil War.  Other than the five or so years when we moved out of state, I have lived my life here. Anything more you may wish to know about me, you can hopefully gather from my writings, as far as my values, my character, and my impressions of humanity -- in as much and as far as I have experienced it, or imagined it.

2 thoughts on “A Sweet Gum Tree”

  1. I know this area of North East Texas…Raised there..
    Reading this gives me goosebumps because of the familiarity I experienced reading your vivid details….


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