Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Testament of Arkey Wilson

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Testament of Arkey Wilson

Article excerpt

I wake at sunup with my feet pointed toward Arkansas. I wonder if it was providence that the trailer was already turned that way when me and Patsy bought it and moved our little daughters, Dolly and June, up from the flood plain, our son, Cantrell Jr., already dead in prison, never learning to read even as good as me, getting fired from jobs Hank helped me help him get. A bruised reed, he ain't going to break, Jesus preached, but Canny shot a cop who caught him smoking near drained Lima Lake.

The mouth of a gun, the mouth of a boy who can't let on he can't read, the mouth that gets you into trouble behind bars, the mouth of his mother, my wife, hardly talking for a year after that.

And there was Hank, my friend, who hired me sometimes to help repair grain elevators with his crew, or drive to Keokuk or Davenport for a part, or even fix them sandwiches so he could slip me five bucks when I was let go from bartending - Hank trying to raise those two kids without a wife, relying on half-crazy relatives scattered in a half-dozen little towns: Pontusuc, Keithsburg, Buffalo Prairie, and places like Shanghai that ain't even on a map.

And that day finding Hank collapsed one more time, an attack of the hernia he wouldn't get help for, lying there on the hardened, spilled tar behind his toolshed,

him reaching up to me, saying, Arkey, someday tell my kids . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.