“You never do listen.” Evaline turned the truck key over in her hand,
feeling for an imprint of Harlan’s thumb in the worn plastic. The truck
door screeched as she opened it.
“Hold him.” Evaline handed Harlan’s remains to Joanne. The engine
fought turning over, just like Harlan on mornings after drinking at the
Elks Club bar. It heaved into gear, and Evaline turned off the drive into
Away from the house, geese swept the plow furrows of shorn cornfields, rooting for kernels spit from the thresher before fall. In late
September, when the stalks were tall, she’d cut corridors through the
fields, tracing with her finger and the tractor’s tires the design Harlan
had drawn years ago on yellowed paper. The maze had been his idea,
something for the kids. He’d sketched the first maze when Joanne and
Jacob were little enough to sit beneath the kitchen table at dinner, passing rolls back and forth in their fort buttressed by table and chair legs.
Each year he’d updated the design, adding more corridors and forced
turnarounds. Dead ends.
“You remember the mazes?” Evaline asked.
“I remember getting lost in one. Took you an hour to realize I was
“Should I have tied a balloon to your wrist?”
“I liked balloons.” Joanne turned the vent toward her, her nails white-
tipped and glossy at the ends of her long, slender fingers. Both Evaline
and Harlan had large, panhandle palms. Harlan’s were strong; he’d dug
his pencil as deeply into paper as he’d dug plow chisels into the resisting
fields. In winter, after the mazegoers were gone, the candy booths closed,
and Harlan too blind and blurred to drive the tractor, Evaline had re-
turned, cropping the field for the last time, leaving what fell for the geese.
“Your daddy never could do anything in a simple line.” She drove
into the ruts in the field. “Couldn’t even till straight.” She sideswiped a
They drove out to the back line. Despite the cold morning, barehanded workers clipped wire threads from poles, fencing that Harlan
had unspooled and stapled himself back before they were married. Constance Wimberley’s son, Ronnie, worked in the crew. He snapped a line,
severing a section of fence. Evaline stared at his bearded face, searching,
as always, for Harlan.
Months prior, the rig workers drove in bulldozers. They drove in
fenceposts long as telephone poles on the backs of flatbed trucks and