Women in the trailer park
mostly left her alone.

when Bud came home
from the foundry
quarter after five
Celina washed his feet
in a big bucket
of sweet soap water
beer at his elbow.

On a Sunday afternoon
the four of us
crossed the road
and went dancing
at the folk fair.

A little tipsy
we talked over baclava
while our men went
behind the bandstand
to the toilets.

I asked Celina
why she lowered herself
to scrub a healthy brute’s
filthy feet.

She told me.

When I was eight
I shot little Bubba
with my Daddy’s gun.

I choose the meanest man
I ever knew
to make it up to.

Sometimes it seems
I’m gaining on the debt
but I don’t know.

He’s a whole lot nicer
than he used to be.

Poems reprinted with permission of Norbert Blei, literary executor for Frances May. This poem appeared in Tell Me About the People (Door Mouse Press, 1985).