Ode to a Pillow Case

— A Tribute to Mrs Dubose

Mrs Dubose is a character from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. She was cantankerous, racist and the children find her repulsive. Yet despite being old and frail like a yellowish pillow case, she had the courage to fight her morphine addiction, and died “beholden to nobody”.

They say you’re dirty,

Got drool stuck on your cheeks, silvery, sticky,

Drying up like a stream of invective.

They say you’re empty,

“Ain’t nothin’ but a baggy old soul”,

“Aw man, not even a soul, just some’n puffy, full of nothing”.

They say you’re a recluse,

Always in your own space

Like a spider in his cobweb on your ceiling, catching dust.

Even time would go stale, they say, were it

Old and ugly as you.

But I know you, all your

Creases like wrinkles;

Soft ruffling sounds you make, like someone dream-talking.

Don’t be scared, but the thing is,

I’ve seen inside you, known you

Under your skin. You’re filled with snow-white down,

Like cotton balls to stop you from bleeding.

I know, that you’ve had too many wounds.

But you still sit in your corner and live and

When night comes, dream on and on.

Where every piece inside you is, you know exactly.

You have everything sorted out, and… when the time comes,

You shall fly up into heaven, with your puffy floaty dreams,

Beholden to nothing and  nobody.

How come people never learned

To see inside one’s skin?


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