50 THE MISSOURI REVIEW • FALL 2019
She walked off through burning dust
and fields, he said. Down through
hollows cut by quick spring floods,
floods that turned old graves to sunken
beds, forgotten, nursling, unmade beds.
She parted wires, eased her body through,
her breasts, her birthing hips, her one
good dress, up one fearsome hill, pine
and sun and shale, and down another.
A Bible and an apple in her sack,
he said. A blanket, he supposed. Children
left to grow by juddering lantern light,
light of snow that crept like wolves
across the Plains, the seamless, hounded,
womanish Plains. And time went on. A day.
Two years. Another life. Wives went off
like that, he said—Sioux Falls, Billings.
Anywhere they’d never seen. Walking,
walking, to explain their muttered
flaring selves to no one.