I want to talk about the bonnets, she wants
to talk about the deer.
The winter road to her farm crests higher,
dips lower with approaching dark.
There, where the county road T’s
with the road to Pryor, last night’s meadow
was filled with grazing deer, and spotted with light beams
bouncing from her Jeep. If you knew how to squint,
she tells me, the deer looked like stick figures
etched on a limestone wall. For a moment,
we were both inside that cave.
My cell phone rings. Someone’s car
won’t start. Someone needs a lift.
What sound do you hear
when you try to start it?
Silence, he tells me, nothing but
silence when I turn the key.
This is what I want.
The Chinook was bending
prairie grass along the highway ditch.
Our car bucked the headwind.
Up ahead, one abandoned homestead.
Tumbleweeds bounced west to east
across the barren stretch.
There, for a moment: between the collapsed
wood shed and the garden plot,
two sisters in bonnets
and three brothers chasing hats.
He never saw what I saw. I didn’t think what he thought. And so in my early years I didn’t take the photos, I didn’t write the words. Mostly, I was a passenger in his car, until I couldn’t be that anymore.
Where was I going and what was my game plan when I left him? I didn’t know how to answer him. Something was calling my name—there must be another way to listen.
And now we know how to be friends. And (sometimes) I ride in the backseat of his car. I take photos of the rush that passes through, feeling what I feel. I hand my camera to our daughter sitting in the front seat: After your dad passes this truck, would you take a shot of that white house.
They exchange that sort of smile. The knowing smile what says: Guess we’ll have to wait until her post comes out to know what’s inside her head.
“Squint” was published by Untitled Country Review some months ago. It’s a great journal of place and speculation. Click here to explore more of Scot Siegel’s poetry journal. Talk about untitled country! He is in the know.