Lady Florence Artifice
I thought it was oh so nice that Lady Florence Artifice lived in her house with goats.
She dressed in overalls of a man, with layers of bibbed overalls, dresses and coats
There was no other livestock in our neighborhood, but I thought inside was really good.
She was an oddity to others in town, but my twin and I loved it when she was around.
Her stories were terrifyingly thrilling, about hangings and people who tarred others.
We kids kept these tales to ourselves, not wanting to be censored by our mothers.
We followed her and Kneely, her head goat, up and down the block when she came by.
She would not talk to the grownups; they had no time for her; I always wondered why.
Strange, odd, weird, I heard them whisper sometimes about Lady Florence Artifice.
These small town Iowa women on my block were cliquish and clannish, and not very nice.
My mother thought it was hilarious that the kids loved this old crazy woman so much.
She allowed us leeway to run up to her garden and help her clean her rabbit hutch.
Florence knew the name of every flower, bush, vine, plant, mushroom, seed and tree.
She kept up a constant chatter that always amazed and delighted nine-year-old me.
She told us about killing cobras, rattlesnakes, lions, tigers, and one time a grizzly bear.
It was a sad day in the lives of us children when Lady Florence and Kneely were no longer there.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2020
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