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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 3, September 2014

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Marie Lecrivain
Los Angeles, California, USA


Whatever Happened to Roxy Jewel?

Among old book stacks, I found a small white dusty journal labeled Grandmother’s Memories. For the price of a dollar, I’ve gained access to the bare bones tale of Roxy Jewel Rush, a Midwestern girl born in 1909, on a farm in Lipton, OK, an obscure community embedded in the early 20th century American landscape.

a new voice
emerges
among blue skies
& amber waves
of grain

In careful schoolgirl handwriting, Roxy defined the narrow parameters of her childhood. She was the only daughter in a family, who, in typical biblical fashion, rewarded her younger brother with an allowance, as well as greater freedom. At 13, Roxy met her future husband, Floyd, while he was plowing the field next door. At 17, Floyd seemed “terribly serious and grown-up,” but that didn’t stop him from starting their courtship two years later. Their romance allowed Roxy, for a brief time, to leave behind the strictures her family had placed upon her.

after movies
& ball games
under starry skies
furtive coupling
at the midnight hour

Two days after her 18th birthday, Roxy and Floyd quietly wed at the local preacher’s house. Later that day, they moved into a small one bedroom farmhouse, along with Floyd’s father and two brothers. There was no reception, no honeymoon, no gifts.

in a shower of rice
& good wishes
the new bride
is transformed
into a wife

Roxy was expected to cook meals for Floyd’s family, who liked to play pranks. One day, Roxy made biscuits for a lunch for Floyd’s aunt and uncle, who, when she wasn’t looking, put salt in the flour. When the biscuits came out of the oven, they were ruined. They blamed her for spoiling lunch, and declared her a bad cook. Only years later did they admit their prank. At this point, Roxy’s story stops. The rest of the pages are blank.

Roxy dedicated the book to her granddaughter, Tracy, who, for whatever reason, elected to give up the journal. Perhaps the silence of her grandmother was too much to bear.

what truths
can be read
between the lines
of bitterness
& tears


Editor's Note: Previously published in Bright Stars: An Organic Tanka Journal (Vol. 1, Jan 2014)

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