#241 Sycamore

by Brad Potts

I was busy figuring out how to hate him when she walked in the kitchen. “I’m done, ma’am.” I slid the check across the table; she hurriedly slipped it in her pocket with a nod and walked away silently. The door made a little clicking sound as she opened it, then a quiet thud as she vanished beyond the threshold. There were birds singing a soft song in the garden. I listened for a time. I noticed Eleanor watching me from the sun porch.

“What is it, child?”

“Can I go to school tomorrow, Mama?”

“No, Ellie. The wake is tomorrow. School be there next week.”

“School will be there next week.”

“You hush now, child. Go finish your lessons and I’ll set supper.”

I forgot he was dead and set a place for him in front of his chair. I put the plate in the sink and moved his chair to the sun porch.

“They God, lead us through the dark of the night to your glory. Forgive us our trespasses.”


We ate in silence. The birds were gone with the dusk. I looked out the window in the last light of the day at the garden. It needed tending.

“You sleep now, child. Hush that crying.”

“Alright, Mama.”

He liked the sycamore tree out back by the fencerow. I thought it was ugly, ashen and peeling away all the while. I buried him under it with a small gray marker. I buried that shotgun next to him.

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