The Prodigal

She’ll get her back up if you ask her about it –
that life before
when she left home and ran around.
But she never says a word
and shoos you away from the porch
if you keep on pesterin’ her.

We all know the story
but never get to hear the juicy details
of those high livin’days.
And the stories of when she came home-
bruised and barefoot,
no better than the pigs in the sty.
They ran all the way down the road
past the mailboxes
when they saw her-
wrapped her in their best cotton sheets
and covered her hair in honey.
Calling all the neighbors,
they butchered their prize hog
and we ate like kings,
all the sweet meat and greens and potato salad
we could hold.
And, my, oh my, that coconut cake.

But that’s not what I want to tell you.

Ever since then
she’s kept to herself,
minding her daddy til he passed
and now her mamma,
tied to this porch like there was a chain on her,
never uttering a solitary word of regret.

Or remorse neither.

She lived her life, some say,
in those wild and runabout years,
and now she’s paying for it.

But she’ll never say a thing –
not a solitary word.

15 thoughts on “The Prodigal

  1. I love how you weaved just enough of the framework of the story of the prodigal son into this poem, and yet it was quite different. It is her story, but not all of it. Peace, Linda

  2. you have me curious about what happened in those years but glad they opened their arms wide when she came back… the prodigal son is one of my fav stories in the bible as well

  3. I smiled through this. You told us a story about an intriguing character with a lot of spark inside…….keeping her secrets on the porch. She is a dutiful daughter, caring for her folks, that much we know.

  4. I LOVE that covering of her hair with honey and the fine meal…the different slant on the Prodigal Son….covering her hair like the woman who covered Jesus’ hair in precious oil….she stayed tethered to that porch….maybe because she knew how crazy it was out there and here on the porch was love and forgiveness and no need to stray anymore. I think she thought a lot of the past but I don’t think she had regrets about staying on that porch. I truly don’t. being a prodigal myself, I understand. Wonderful, wonderful write.

  5. That must have been a celebration ~ You have weaved an interesting character, a nice twist to the Prodigal story ~ Thanks for sharing Kathleen 🙂

  6. What a powerful write this is, Kathleen! The details of what happened must be too painful to share. Very sad though to keep so much inside…forever.

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