through the backseat window



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.

Years pass.

 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.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

8 responses to “through the backseat window

  1. Love the poem, and congrats. And I love your life…how you are managing it. You are an interesting woman.

  2. “He never saw what I saw. I didn’t think what he thought.” It’s funny when we look back, did we know we felt that way then. Always. When do begin to see? When do we begin to crave the silence?
    How we can conquer all that with a workable friendship! Remarkable human beings we are.

    Your poem, the imagery, sharp but soft, with frayed edges. Just beautiful, Sherry.

    • redmitten

      jayne, what a great question: when do we begin to see? now, looking back i see it. but then? there was too much noise to sort things out. resiliency is such a blessing in our lives and yes, humans are remarkable: flexible, adapting, growing, forgiving. to name a few . . .

      thank you for your encouraging words!

  3. silence when you turn the key= ignition switch

    I’m not sure this is always what I want. ;P

    • redmitten

      katy- i agree. we each have opposite sides to every coin in us. sometimes i yearn for that silence, the lack of ignition. other times- oh, contrary sherry must have fire now! 🙂

  4. Rose Hunter

    I’m glad you are taking the photos now, and writing the words. 🙂 🙂

and then you said:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 52 other followers

%d bloggers like this: