I was reading a book on poetry writing and the suggestion was to find a tabloid story and write a poem about it. Their example was a story about a woman who made her husband into a scarecrow. Well I thought about that (never did buy a tabloid) and " Mr. Tidwell's Soul" was the result. The only "true" element of the poem is the rabbit. Her name was "Silver Queen".
Mr. Tidwell's Soul
Two things happened on my eleventh birthday.
Our neighbor Mr. Tidwell disappeared
and my Dad built a scarecrow.
These two things seemed ominous to my young mind.
I was at school when Dad built the scarecrow.
When I got home there it was
in the middle of the vegetable garden.
Every evening at supper my Dad ranted
about the Tidwells,
the Tidwell's cows in our pasture ,
the Tidwell's kids climbing over the fence,
and especially about Mr. Tidwell,
that lazy dirt farmer.
That evening the Tidwell children
arrived to share my birthday cake.
By this time I was fairly sure Dad had killed
Mr. Tidwell and made him into a scarecrow.
I knew he was perfectly capable of such a crime.
Did he not kill my pet rabbit and
then eat her for Sunday dinner?
I did not share my suspicions with the Tidwell children.
Months went by and still no Mr. Tidwell.
I could not go near the scarecrow
but the crows did not seem to be intimidated.
They dive bombed and pecked at it
in angry forays and over time tore it to shreds.
By the end of summer little remained.
I was convinced they were eating
Mr. Tidwell and devouring his soul.
Fall arrived and while I was in school
the scarecrow disappeared.
Years after I left home
I received a letter from a gossipy friend.
Mr. Tidwell, it seems
had run away with the redhead
who worked at the "Curls For You" beauty parlor.
So now I can only wonder, "who was the scarecrow
hanging in the middle of the vegetable garden?"
Copyright; Ginger Wiegman
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