The Devil’s Debt


by brian francis



When I was growing up among the corn and dairy cows
Every meal was begun with grace and praising of our God
The food was always special because it was made with love
I remember Grand-Mom sayin’ it was a blessing from above.

She claimed that momma never could cook when she was young
She was so bad said Grand-Mom they feared–could she find love?
How would she catch a man if smoke drove them all away?
But Daddy, he inspired her to with only good words to say

And Daddy worked from dark to dark we never saw the man
Unless we broke one of the rules and we’d hear Momma pray
She’d go into the kitchen where she’d pick up a broken belt
Hanging it upon a hook, that would make our young hearts melt

It was the hook by the back door where Daddy changed his clothes
We couldn’t help but look at it, as we imagine how it felt
Every time we glanced at it, sorrow would haunt our souls
As Daddy said if you want to drive then you have to pay the tolls

We would be in our beds when daddy finally came home
Sleep would usually catch us in defiance of our goals
But we would wake when Daddy gently sat down where we slept
he would talk about right and wrong and paying the devil’s debt

It always hurt so much more when it hung upon the hook
Anticipation tortured us the way it slowly crept
I’ve been in raging battles, and I’ve feared the line would snap
But I’ve never feared anything like that hook and broken strap

Copyright © 2021 brian francis

Published by

brian francis

Born and raised in the idyllic environment of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A rural paradise perfect for a roving childhood. Now living in the desert southwest, with a flock of parrots, a pigeon, and Three dogs.

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