Hazard Kentucky, 1942
by Jo Neace Krause
In 1942 in Hazard, Kentucky, the women who wrote to soldiers met the evening train looking for letters.
They stood just right, watching the crashing wheels appear in the sucking back drafts of in-rushing air that lifted and fluttered their clean washed hair that
fingered it up from each white neck and nape and spread it out like silky crepe.
The women who came down to the depot wore slim skirts and sweaters, wore lockets and keepsake rings and other tiny golden things that flashed and flickered and
flashed some more like all cruel glories in a war.
Sometimes it rained on the siding platform and alongside the slow churning black flanks of the engine, a coffin would be set down draped carefully in a flag Then
the women who wanted letters all cried out for something better to this world that rolls they said like John the Baptist's bloody head.
So the rainy earth took a lover and ever so often it took another to hold beneath the ferny woodland cover of greening buds and leaves of gold to drop and twirl
in winter's cold.
To twirl and swirl like clean washed hair of women in slim skirts and sweaters strolling out to mail their letters.
A poem recently published in The South Carolina Review,
Clemson College, SC and dedicated to the author's aunt, Susie Watts, one of the ladies who waited for the train in Hazard, Kentucky