Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Since the first of them, in November, 1504,
Pulled a stuborn thorn from a saint's paw
All Hulls, even the most unwilling ones,
Have gone the quickest route to Heaven.
(You thought that all saints were human?
 Believe me, if God becks a finger at you
It is worse than useless to tell Him
That you're a performing bear)
Accordingly, when the stonemason
George Washington Hull died much too young
Of acute silicosis there were no lines for him
Nor any papers to fill out in triplicate.There was
However, his first wife, though he'd been married just once
To a woman who was still living and not even ill.

He had told Mary and Margaret, his daughters,
Stories of finding Sabrina, a woman of the wild
From the most ferocious corner of untamed Ohio
And traveling back to civilization with her
On the way, their adventures multiplied
But Sabrina was dauntless and the wilderness
Always greatly respects dauntless women.
No canyon was to wide to be leapt across
No mountain too tall to tunnel through.
Rattlesnakes bit their own tails when they saw her
So they could roll more swiftly from her path;
If they thought she looked glum, grey wolves
Would gather around her at night to tell her jokes;
The Great Midwestern Sabertooth Armadillo himself
Lost two falls out of three when they thumb-wrestled.

Even in stories the Hulls have impeccable morals;
If George was going to spend years crossing Ohio
There was nothing for it but to marry Sabrina
(Mary was skeptical about the officiating tree shrew
But her father insisted it had been lawfully ordained
By a breakaway faction of the Southern Missouri Synod)
Though Margaret asked repeatedly, he never said
Just what had finally happened to Sabrina
He simply looked solemn and said that story
Could only be told at exactly the right moment.

But he’d coughed himself out of his body
And, as a Hull, popped into Heaven
Before the right moment came.
And there was Sabrina, coming in too.
They tried to stop her at the door
The quota for fictional people, they said, was filled
"Whether I am real or not, I was married
To George Washington Hull so I am Sabrina Hull
And Hulls go direct -- no detours  -- to Heaven"
(This was before Lucy Stone had discovered
That a woman might perfectly well keep her name
No matter who she married, so don't blame me
For my strict adherence to demonstrable truth).
A woman who has heard the jokes of wolves
Is hard to gainsay; when she is a mistress of logic too
There is no just no stopping her.

             Of course,
The other Mrs. Hull showed up some years later
But, though sometimes sniffing at tree-shrew marriages,
Life in Ohio had taught her how to share.)

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