Abigail Miller

Cover Up

When Edith’s husband
Clancy was found
down in Willow Creek
with twenty-nine pick-axe
wounds to the chest,
Mr. Miller, the town lawyer,
was called in Edith’s defense.

His wife, Abigail1, went down to Alvina’s
with her famous gooseberry pies
in the long summer twilight.

She brought back
packets tied with Alvina’s
coarse black hairs
at midnight.
Scattered some
into the White Owl's well
to blind the gossips.
Strewed some
through the courtroom
to blind the jurors.
Ground some
into the muddy boardwalks
to blind the rest.

Now no one would see
Clancy’s obvious eyes
in her little Cassandra.
No one now could condemn her.

Abigail never dared
to call at Clancy’s secret mine,
to search out her old case:
the one with her hearts-ease worked on it.
He had leered when he said he kept
her letters there,
along with five months of her
house-keeping money
(letters drenched in the perfume of another time
when they both had been
too young, too foolish, too daring).

Had she dared,
she would have opened
her case to find
only her blue sateen ribbons
and some dusty papers for failed claims.

Marble Springs never saw a thing.

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