The creative writing group I belong to had an assignment. We were to use these words: Solitary Rose, No Serviceable Parts, Rain, and Church, and write a story of at least 800 words.
I took a risk and wrote a story in a dialog from a child’s point of view. My peers loved it. It was fun polishing off my voice and reading my story in a dialog quite different from my own.
Me n Granma stands lone n Morgan Hill Cemetery, whiles Rev Lewis says the final prayer ova Mama’s pine box, set deep na hole big enuf ta swallow my boney body if I falls n. My heart sets full of sorra. Me n Granma is all the relations left of our family. Granpa dead two years, cuz his heart jus gives out. Brotha Bill takes a bullet ta the head, cuz JoPete says brotha Bill cheatin whiles playin som foo card game. And Papa runs off wit som tramp. Never sees him no mo. Yep, it jus Granma left ta solve my worl problems, such as they be, fo a boney fo-teen year ol girl. This is what I’m thinkin whiles Rev Lewis finishes his prayers ova Mama’s pine box. “Go on chil.” Granma taps my elbow ta throws n the rose I picks fum Miz May’s garden. I looks at the flower. “God bless ya Mama.” I cries then throws it onta that pine box—Mama’s final home.
Once the last amen gets spoke, Rev Lewis gives us a ride home, cuz that ol clunker Mama’s leaves behin ain’t got no serviceable parts inside, cuz ofa broke-down engine, n no serviceable parts outside, cuz the doos can’t stays shut. Granma says we po as church mice. We jus got God, Rev Lewis, na few kindly neighbors when our gov’ment food stamps runs out.
My school, on Cole Run Road, learns me things ta gives me hope I ain’t always gonna be a po bitty church mouse. Miz Allen, a good lessin teacha, says I gots real talents fo algebra. Miss Allen says my bility fo rithmatic is my Zin or my peace, cuz when I gets ta figurin out formulas, the sun jus shines n my eyes like diamonds. Miz Allen says my Zin fo algebra, n book smarts fo readin, na mind fo science is gonna breaks me free fum poverty. I smiles n thanks God fo my brain, n Mama, n even low-life Papa fo bringin me nta this here worl. But really it be Miz Allen’s patience fo a boney chil like me that gives me hope.
I sho gets ta thinkin bout edumacation when the rain pounds our house, n the roof leaks through the holes, nta buckets me n Granma places on the floo. Granma can’t reads my thoughts, but I sho gets a mind ta go on n finds me a cave ta lives in. I figures it be betta off than catchn my death of cold. Stubborn Granma says she ain’t goin nowhares. She says she born po as a church mouse in this here house, n she gonna dies po as church mouse n this here house. Cuz God takes care of her jus fine. Well now, I guess God takes her serious. HE takes Granma home one night so HE can betta watch ova her.
I misses school ta go ta Morgan Hill Cemetery fo Rev Lewis’ prayers ova my last relations. God must’ve sees my mizry face while I sits by mysef n that house wit the holes n the roof. I prays fo food. I prays fo somebody ta cums n gets me to be n they family. God must’ve hears me. Evenin cums n HE puts a knock ta the doo. When I opens it, I knows I gonna be happy cuz Miz Allen cums fo me. Fum that day I lives wit her n Mista Allen, cuz they ain’t got no relations of they own.
I finished middle school, graduated high school with honors, and received a doctorate in physics. I teach at a university far from my family’s graves. But my summers are still home, in that same house I lived with my grandmother. Only now the roof doesn’t leak when the rains come, because I’m no longer poor as a church mouse.