Excerpt from If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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If the Creek Don't Rise

by Leah Weiss

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss X
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
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    Aug 2017, 320 pages

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Sarah Tomp
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Now, at the end of fifteen days tied legal to Roy Tupkin and me beat up three times for no reason I can figure, his supper sits warm in the oven and I'm working on a plan to get free. I'll bide my time to make it right. When that day comes, Roy Tupkin's gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn.


Gladys Hicks

What's your skinny ass doing here?"

"Wanna see if you was all right, that's all."

Sadie Blue stands at the edge of my yard and drags the toe of her sneaker in the dirt. A bright spot of sunshine holds her in its beam and shines through her skimpy dress. Her baby bump is the size of a honeydew.

"I don't need you checking on me, girl. This ain't your home no more."

She takes a step back, and I feel a pang of regret. Or maybe it's gas. I'm planted on my porch, hands on my hips and bun wound so tight my ears hurt. "I thought you was gone for good, now you legal and all."

As usual, Sadie don't say much.

"Well…you're here…"

With weak permission, my grandgirl steps in the yard, and I turn and open the screen door. Like always, it slaps my heels when I enter, and I head back to the kitchen and the smell of last night's collard greens.

Sadie comes in slow-footed, and I wanna hit her upside the head cause she's meek when she's under my roof. Instead, I slide the iron skillet onto the burner rough-like and slap in a mound of lard, then bark orders. "Peel potatoes and onions. Slice em thin. You slice em thick. I like em thin."

"Yes, ma'am. Thin."

I cut my eyes to see if she sasses me, but Sadie slices thin, then scoops up the pile of potatoes and drops em in the hot pan. She jumps back when the grease pops; her face stays empty. I plop down on the kitchen chair and my thighs settle over the edges. I sift through the thin stack of mail circulars with one hand and rub my knee with the other.

"Your joints ache, Granny?"

I don't bother to say. She sees how swoll my knee is. I sip sweet tea and watch Sadie turn potatoes and onions, slice ham, and wash yesterday's dishes. There's grace bout the girl. Like her mama long gone from here, in this plain place Sadie won't plain…and that galls me. I never got a speck of grace. I was born big-boned and grew tall in a family of runts, and I look down on folks ever since.

Sadie fills our plates from the stove and we eat without talk. Her eyes stay down, and mine stay righteous. When I'm done, I pull the chew outta my pocket and head to the porch glider like I always do to ponder troubles that stay too long. Sadie showing up jumped her to the head of the worry line. I sip on my jar of hooch I keep by the glider cause it softens my rememberings.

My grandgirl tied her hopes to a crappy man without a lick of promise. I could tell by the set of Roy Tupkin's eyes and jut of his jaw that he was the sorry kind. Sadie was blind to danger. She sneaked out at night when she thought I was sleep but won't. I looked out my bedroom window at her running cross the yard with her feet barely touching ground. For a stretch of time, she'd climbed into the front seat of Roy's pickup with the taillights out. I coulda told her he was looking for easy and a woman's life is hard, but she don't ask.

"Got me three dead babies… Then Carly comes along, a runty girl too strong-willed for her own damn good—"

"Granny?" Sadie sticks her head out the screen door, wiping her hands on a rag. "You say something?"

I'm talking out loud and don't know it. I look ahead and rock in the squeaky glider.

Sadie adds, "If you did, I didn't hear you, that's all."

I keep on rocking, and she goes back to the kitchen.

I don't like to look the fool. Truth is, sometimes I need to hear a voice even if it's mine. I'm not use to somebody in earshot to pay attention so I stop ruminating and head inside.

Excerpted from If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss. Copyright © 2017 by Leah Weiss. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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