"I'll get it directly," she'd say, meaning
soon, meaning, when I can, meaning, not
yet, bet patient, the world don't turn upon
your every need and whim. Or "the dogs
will be back home directly, I reckon,"
"the preacher will be finished," "your daddy
will see you," "supper will be laid out"--
all "directly," which never meant the straight
line bewteen two surveyor's points or
an arrow's flight, but rather, by the curve,
the indirect, the arc of life and breath,
and she was right, and when she passed
or was passing, I could not say which,
in a patchwork quilt, the makeshift room,
the sweet hymn notes sung neighborly
across the hall, she whispered, "Learn to tell
what needs doing quick as a bluesnake
and what will take the slow way, full
of care and mulling, be fair in every
dealing with beasts and people and all
else alive, and surely, my dear, He will
come for you in His good time, the way
He comes for all of us, directly."
from The Oxford American, July/August 2003.