'Windshield #1'
photo by Samantha Malay, on the way to Colville, Washington, 1990

by Samantha Malay
published in Burningword Literary Journal, issue 84, October 2017

for a while he worked at a school up the road
and told us not to talk to the boys who lived there
but trouble started inside our house

the hole in the rug
the beet-stained cloth
the dark-winged insect in the unslept night

haste hid his plan
and a dearth of kin
like the letters in the glovebox
from friends who fed our animals
and doubted our return

the unclasped necklace
the bruise on the knuckle
the heat of the day trapped in the car

see the bend in the river
where he longed for the coast
and numbered the things he could part with

stand on the porch
of the house near the train tracks
where we curled on the floor
in one room together
and outgrew our clothes
by the end of winter

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