Origin and End of “the Willies”

Comments (0) Issue 6, Poetry, Writing

Cayleigh Baillargeon
Chief Chocorua’s curse killed colonizer’s cattle
for decades after he conjured the Great Spirit
but it is the surname of Sam Willey
that we colloquially call to
to explain a deep, primal knowledge
that something is amiss.

Willey wrote about the chief and the cattle
then still chose to make his home
at the base of a steep cliff
In an area known for rockslides and flash floods.
He was not scared. 

Willey was a clever man. Converted a cave
just below the base of his mountain home
into a sturdy storm shelter.

Willey was smarter than God 
and stronger
than the last wish of a dead man
so when the water came
he delivered his family and workers
right to them.

It only took one big rain storm
after a long drought.

Sam knew the house would be destroyed,
so he rushed his wife, 
five young children,
and hired hands,
into the dark, 
down to their crypt. 

As the water made its way down the mountain, 
as fast and as violent as
Chief Kancamagus’s revenge on Dover,
it hit a boulder just above the house,
ripping the swollen stream
into two separate channels
diverting its path around the home,
unifying once more just below,
penetrating their protection
killing everyone, proving once again
it’s futile to fight fate.

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