for Anna Rathfon Nichols, 1882-1938
They declared their chips in Kansas.
Ace came round in a new fangled motor,
wore a fancy suit. She flew to him like a railbird.
Free hand wrangler, he scooped her up,
built his deck with brick and mortar.
He bought the pot; she bought short.
Mother and sister packed their lot,
headed north, after the fire that killed her pa.
Dealt a dead hand, he lost his Oklahoma purse.
After two stillborn births, this wild card shark
proved his bluff and upped the ante.
Go back to Indianny and console your ma.
I'll be up to collect you directly; he slipped
out the back door on a chronic rabbit hunt.
Cursed rag left her in the dark,
blind to his habit, crippled by a silent flush,
a gypsy muck of syphilis and insanity.
|Ace and Anna, Galena, Kansas, 1910|
The story of Ace Nichols never returning to Indiana for my great-aunt Anna, has always been a sad part of my family history, but after I obtained her medical records, the story became even more tragic. Since his name happened to be Ace, I couldn't resist throwing in all the poker terminology.
This is a Sepia Saturday post.