Enough is Enough
The air outside is as snarling dogs.
They are swirling near the house
where Betty sits working
a word search puzzle.
Images on the t.v. explode
in her face. Nobody turns it off.
With her pencil she loops
ellipses and circles around
the words and stabs them in place.
She has not gone next door
to Thanksgiving. In front of her
a plate of sausages and gravy
has congealed. You know, she says
in her beautiful crooning voice,
I can’t eat that. She is fed up.
All those years at the bank
and never lost a penny til
Ed forged her signature and made off
with all that money. All those
brothers of his and their no good
women leaving their children for
her to raise, her working,
Ed and his buddies crashing
in at all hours drunk.
Old injustices heap around her
like moldy crackers.
Enough is enough. Outside,
the dogs in the air thicken.
Noel Smith spent several years in Leslie County, Kentucky, as a social worker for the Frontier Nursing Service in the 1950s and 1960s, sometimes visiting her clients on horseback. A native New Yorker, she returned home where she taught elementary school. After retiring, she went back to eastern Kentucky frequently, where she made lasting friendships. The language, humor and resiliency of her friends made a lasting impression, and their stories emerged as poetry. The Well String (MotesBooks, 2008) is a collection of narrative poems about the people she knew while in Kentucky. She now lives in her native lower Hudson Valley of New York.