Hospital?! Good Lord, we couldn’t even
get to a doctor. Things were different
back then. None of the women had a car.
The boys had cars, and the men, but they were
all in town. With their cars. We were outside
Lafayette somewhere, on the family farm.
No, we couldn’t call the boys for a ride.
We couldn’t even call a doc. No phone.
Mother walked the half mile to the neighbors,
but they weren’t home, so, she couldn’t get close
to even that phone. There was nothing much
they could do. It was the women, alone,
the whole long hot day and night that girl child
lay on her bed in a coma. Spider
bite, a bad one. The spiders are nasty
in Louisiane, ‘specially in summer.
Maybe a brown recluse? Maybe. Who knows?
Of course, Mother did have her herb garden.
All the women did then. Times were different.
They needed them! There weren’t medicines, not
like they have now. So Mother went out, picked
some herbs. I don’t know which ones. No idea.
No idea what she did with them. All
I remember is the women — Mother,
Grandmother, Aunt Bernice, Aunt Edna, all
the aunts, all of them on their knees around
the bed. Praying, that’s right. That’s what I saw
first thing when I finally opened my eyes.