Elspeth is Leaving
At the foot of the drive she rubs the Redbone’s ears
One last time and looks back at the old farmhouse.
Now she’s standing where two roads intersect
In the middle of horse-drawn carriage country
With a packed up bag of books and belongings.
Waiting for a ride.
She’d toss up her bonnet to the sky, like
Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis, Minnesota
If she knew who that was, but
She’s never even seen a television set.
That was not allowed.
And now she’s leaving home.
It’s just before the dawn, when the cows are heavy
With the milk of ages and the laying hens are lifting up
To drop their fresh eggs into the warm straw below.
Mama will be stirring in her bed, rising with the day’s chores,
Rosters in her head – keeping everything on track,
Not before bowing that head and offering up her day
To the Good Lord.
Elspeth made up her mind way back,
When she was just a youngster.
Papa took them in the cart all the way to town,
They tied up the horse in the makeshift barn–
Raised in a parking lot.
Kids need shoes and cobblers are hard to come by
Even in the old world.
Brother was sporting a new black hat
And fancy suspenders.
Sister had on her favourite dress with the frills
And Papa’s boots were all shined up.
A fantasy world she beheld,
Full of lights and noise and smells.
Far cry from the quiet of the farm,
The hush of church on a Sunday.
She never forgot the thrill.
She told them all about her fancy plans.
Some cried, some scoffed and some had
A little bit of something like envy in their eyes–
For just a flash.
It was best to sneak out early
Before they noticed
She was gone…
Or she changed her mind.
Elspeth is leaving.
Leaving the old ways of an old world,
Crossing over at the intersection
Where ancient meets the apocalyptic.
Following a memory…
To a place that’s already a thousand times
Different than she recalls.
What’s waiting for her, only fifteen minutes
Down the road?
Only the Good Lord knows, but
When she crosses over, she knows
She can never come back.