Treasure Island

Liilia Talts Morrison

(August 20,1937 / Estonia)

The Church at Mudflats Creek

'Dem trains quit runnin' years ago, '
The gaunt, old sheriff drawled,
'Dere ain't no church across dem tracks,
Least none I kin recall.'

'I was a Sister over there,
'Walked to it twice a week -
Wood frame it was and whitewashed, too -
Backed onto Mudflats Creek.'

'No maam, you must be dreamin' now,
Or think o' someplace else
Truth is across dem weed grown tracks
Ain't none but cussin' de'ls.

'Time was dem Yankee dollars flowed
Steam trains would rumble in,
Haulin' off timber, marl and sand
An' taters now'n agin.

'Dem lumber lords left years ago
An' drought turned fields bone dry
Dem oldsters dat would set an' talk
Done died off by and by.

'Yep, dey's gone off to meet their ends
Quit telling' all dem lies.
Ain't much left jes' lik' what you see-
Dem rusty railroad ties.

Dere's still some deer back in dem woods
An' I do get me share,
Dis job here keeps de wolf away.
Poor folks ain't got a prayer.

'Look lady, jes' ferget you seen
This bur-infested place
Ghost churches, ghost trains tend to spook
You's gone widdout a trace.'

I left the clearing smelling sweet
Pine tar and sun-dried hay,
Where this gaunt sheriff held his post
Day after weary day.

Nor did I cross those weed grown tracks
Beyond which lay a dream
Of Sunday children, dressed and clean,
Just yesterday, it seemed.

Those children grew and went their ways
To darker days ahead.
Had any seeds remained in them
Of hymns and scriptures read?

That visit is now tucked away -
A thing left to the past
Like rusty iron, rotted wood
Not ever meant to last.

Yet it's not easy to erase
Those long gone simple days,
Before the world like autumn leaves
Spewed us to wintry ways.

'Dem trains quit runnin' years ago, '
The local sheriff drawled.
'There ain't no church across dem tracks,
Least none I kin recall.'

Submitted: Monday, January 12, 2009

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