Raising Cain

The sun is just peeking over the horizon when I tell Maryanne it’s time.

She gives a quick nod of her head before taking a sip of coffee. “I know…gotta get the taters in that ground tomorrow.”

“It’s gonna be a good day for it,” I add. “Weatherman says it’s gonna be in the seventies with sun all day.” I head for the back door.

“I’ll be out soon as I finish my coffee,” Maryanne says.

I stop by the shed and get the shovel before heading to the garden. I’d just been digging a couple of minutes when Maryanne joins me. She’s carrying the hand spade for the fine work.

I dig down about a foot—that’s as far as I’d best go with the shovel—and lay it aside. Me and Maryanne drop to our knees and start digging more, me with my bare hands (I ain’t got a light touch with tools) and her with the little spade. And soon I feel something, push my fingers in a little more. “There he is,” I say.

Maryanne tosses her little spade a row over, and now we’re both using our hands. I hear her muttering under her breath, prayers, I reckon, ‘cause I hear “Lord” and “God” sprinkled in amongst her other fervorish words.

By the time we get him uncovered, Maryanne is laughing and crying at the same time. She tenderly brushes the dirt from around the closed eyes of our only child, Cain. “Ain’t rotted much, has he Tom?” she asks.

I work Cain’s shoulders free. “Don’t look like it.”

“That’s good,” she says. “Real good.”

“You want me to do it?”

“No, let me.” She begins working her arms under our boy’s body. “He’s so little, I can manage just fine.”

And she’s right. Cain was just three when he died last August. The hardest part of all this was getting him planted in dirt that hadn’t seen rain in pretnear a month.

When she has both arms under him, I take Cain’s hands and cross them over his chest and steady my wife as she rises to her feet.

“I’ll put him over there by the tulips,” Maryanne says. “Aunt Hassie said to make sure he got sun all day long, and a’fore dark, he’ll come back to us.”

I have no doubt the old witch is right, and tonight, Cain’ll be tearing through the house like he hadn’t spent the last seven months in the garden. After all, I seen it happen a’fore—with Maryanne. She’d died birthing Cain. And I’d planted her in the garden like Aunt Hassie had told me to, and come spring, I’d dug her up and laid her in the sun.

©️2023 jai

Image by Duccio Pasquinucci from Pixabay

Be My Valentine

don’t give me a blushing red heart
hand over your black soul instead
one I can bind with my wicked thoughts
and chain to my immoral bed

a soul that will lick my red-tipped toes
and tell me the taste is sweet
and using a warm, scented oil
caress my slender feet

a soul that will humbly bow to my will
freely offer a neck for a studded collar
clip on the leash with nervous fingers
as I lead, on hands and knees follow

a soul that will dare not question
while tied on their back to my bed
anything I may wish to do
with a needle and stout thread

I crave a soul as dark as mine
to get me through the night
no valentine for me, my love
give me your pleasure, pain and life

©2023 jai

Image via Pinterest


I like what I see
when I look in your eyes
as you look at me

I like what I smell
when I’m wrapped in your arms
ensnarled in your spell

I like what I hear
when you whisper my name
lips nibbling my ear

I like what I touch
when our legs entwine
and hungry hands clutch

I like what I taste
when my tongue strokes your flesh
in a kiss most unchaste

love now long gone
washed out with the tide
into the dark sea of dawn

©2023 jai

Image by Alana Jordan from Pixabay