~Fence Posts~

They're just standing there
Only twenty or so are left
far removed from those days
The days of her quest.

The rails have long since gone
fallen and disappeared
The house burned down years ago
Its resident still feared.

The house had outer beauty
but inside ugliness
This rancher beat his woman
and children, I confess.

She'd show up at the town store
'times bandaged up or bruised.
All said that, "It's a shame"
that they were so abused.

One day she bought coal oil
to boil out the scent
of skunk in children's clothing
if the holler they went.

But the children knew the holler
a forbidden place to go
But the smell was there just the same
from a different source, you know.

She walked all three miles home
a woman on a mission.
Able to accomplish this
while her man had 'gone fishin'.

Two gallon cans of coal oil
She slid beneath the bed.
She wondered, would it be enough?
That thought passed through her head.

The three remaining children
she wanted to watch grow.
Unlike the daughter 'neath the field
whom the neighbors didn't know.

He'd come home drunker and angrier
than even he was tired
And no matter what she said,
he'd call her a liar.

He slapped his tiny three year old
and shoved her to the stove.
And a shiny metal handle
into her skull was drove.

They buried her next morning
unmarked grave, in far off field.
He simply wouldn't remember,
he'd put up his shield.

This evening he'd come home that way
stumbling, angry, and mean.
She'd do all to avoid those fists.
Didn't want to be seen.

She sat in the corner and waited
for his final request.
He mumbled and fumbled, and wouldn't
let her take off her dress.

Before it was over, he passed out
as she rolled him off to the right,
and made her quick preparations
for this her freedom flight.

She bundled the kids up warmly
and hustled them out to the barn.
Hitched the team to the wagon,
then they were safe from harm.

Now for the hard part that followed
back to the farmhouse she stole
to soak two handmade quilts
with the oil from the coal.

From this point things went so quickly.
November was cold and dry.
the quilts she placed over his body.
This night he was destined to die.

It didn't take long for the bed to catch
then the curtains and the walls.
And soon these galloping flames of shame
were racing down the halls.

By now the woman drives the team
racing for shelter in town.
In case somehow he rose from the pyre
following, tracking her down.

The cold and the dry and the fire,
the farm house did explode
sending embers to the barn
and out into the road.

Both buildings were razed
burnt right to the ground.
No evidence ever discovered,
and no body ever found.

And over the many years since
the weeds have grown up tall.
Twenty or so fence posts remain.
Twenty fence posts, that's all.

NOTE: When I wrote this poem, I was at work, and had no idea which direction it would take. I saw this image in my mind of fence posts standing along the road. No rails or wire, just this string of fence posts. I started thinking about how this came to be, and why they were standing all alone. What events led up to this picture?
I've always had this concern for the people who suffer, whether from illness, pain, affliction, persecution, and/or abuse. I've known so many of them in my life. But the abuse of a fellow human being is something that we should all be concerned with. There are many places where the abused can go for help. I have listed some links below for your information. Just a short comment on the fact that there are more types of abuse than the physical battering of a partner or child. And that it is not always women or children, who are the victims of it. If you see it, report it.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)