Caleb stopped shoveling for a moment to wipe the sweat that beaded on his forehead. He rested his arms on the tip of the shovel’s handle and stared at the nearly filled in grave that he had been working on. In the heavy air of the late June evening Cottonwood “snow” swirled around like fragments of sin that were a part of him. Caleb didn’t find any pleasure in his job, but he found a certain satisfaction in the weight of the responsibility. An eye for an eye tempered with thou shalt not.
He bent back to his task and once the last shovel full of dirt was thrown onto its resting place, he took a piece of old weathered fence board and placed it at the head of the grave. He picked up a small handful of the newly placed dirt and tossed it against the makeshift tombstone. “May you find peace and forgiveness in the next world,” Caleb stated softly as way of eulogy.
He returned to his napping companions, a sturdy grey pack mule and Palomino stud. The shovel was securely placed in the mule’s pack beside the scythe. Then he went up to the horse’s flank and pulled a ledger out of the saddlebag. He flipped to the ribbon held page and crossed off a name. There were many crossed off names. He looked at the next one on the list, closed the ledger, and put it back in the bag. As Caleb swung into the saddle, the stud woke from slumber and his ice blue eyes scanned the scenery. “Looks like we head to Nevada next,” Caleb whispered to his mount. Without any signal, the pale horse turned its head and began plodding west.
– – – – –
What a way to end the year than with a great prompt from Jeremy’s Hello Wednesday Challenge. I took a bit of a liberty with the prompt to make it fit.
This week’s lines of poetry are:
Thus unlamented let me die – Solitude by Alexander Pope
My dust will find a voice – The Answer by Sara Teasdale
Fragments of sin are a part of me – Appellate Jurisdiction by Marianne Moore
If you use this prompt please link back.