May 9, 2017

A Poem by Andrew Hubbard: "Molly's Gift"

Andrew Hubbard recently moved back to Indiana after ten years in Houston, Texas. He has had five books published, including, most recently, his first book of poetry, "Things That Get You," which was produced by Interactive Press. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. His new book, The Divining Rod, is available at:


Molly’s Gift

It’s not whether St. Francis
Preached to the animals,
It’s whether the animals listened.

If he were Molly
They would have listened.

We said she had a way with animals
And that was our shorthand
For saying she had some affinity
We didn’t understand at all.

Her dad owned the pier
Where the fishermen weighed their catch.

Molly did the weighing,
Rang the cash register
And kept the place tidy.

There was a harbor seal
That would gush out of the water
Onto the pier, shake all over
And flipper his way with a whiskery grin
To Molly, close his eyes
And rub his head against her pants leg
Exactly like a hundred pound cat.

If Molly wasn’t there
He would grumble
And hunker around the pier.

Nobody came near him.
Seals strike as fast as snakes
And when they bite, they don’t let go;
They shake their muscular neck
Until whatever’s in their mouth comes free.
No, nobody messed with Molly’s seal.

Back home on their run-down, red farmhouse
She had a huge, old, mangy raccoon
That lived under the tool shed
And came to her when she called
In his hunch-backed, muscle-bound trot.

He would stand up and lift his fore-legs
For her to pick him up and plant him on her shoulder.

He sat there for hours
With every evidence of delight
And if anyone came within ten feet
He would bare his teeth and growl.
Nobody messed with Molly’s raccoon, either.

This was all long ago,
And the years spin by so fast.

Molly got married, got divorced, dated her ex
There was some kind of drunken episode.
Nobody really knows who shot at who first
Or under what provocation
But a bullet caught the ex
In the throat and killed him.

It could even have been a ricochet
Of his own shot.
That’s what her attorney said.

(I went to school with him
And that’s the only clever thing
I ever heard him say.)
But it didn’t work:  they lost
And Molly went to jail for a long time.

I never heard of her again.

Kind of a wasted life,
But what a gift,
What an extraordinary gift.

© Andrew Hubbard
APRIL 2017

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