I waited a long time.
I came first, got a job in this hotel
down by the river. Folks stay here
before they go on the riverboats.
Mostly they’re nice people,
but things can get rough sometimes.
I’m glad I’m in the kitchen.
He said he’d come
right after he helped the parents
with the butchering and the beans,
but that time was well past,
and I hadn’t even had a letter.
“It’s a long way,” Cook kept telling me,
“a long walk. But he’ll come,
I can feel it in my bones.”
Cook caught me crying this morning
while I was stirring up the buckwheat cakes.
“How long since you’ve eaten, child?”
she wanted to know. “You’re getting
mighty thin.” I told her I guessed
I hadn’t had anything for a day or so,
I’d been that worried.
“That man of yours, he’ll get here,”
she said. “Only a fool wouldn’t come
for a woman like you.”
She made me sit down and eat
a plate of cakes, all buttered up.
While I was eating them,
I looked out the kitchen window,
and there he was,
coming down the hill in the rain.
Part of “The American Folk Song Suite.” Can you guess which one?