I watch the red tailights of the taxi exit
into the bend on the right down this country
road that has brought me back to my place
of birth. Mother is sick again. Her kidneys
can no longer take the constant strain. It is
past midnight when I arrive. The house has
a gray pallor that is magnified by the quiet
thrust upon me. Everyone is asleep, and they
weren't expecting me anyway. I had longed
for sleep all through the plane ride, but here
now, I've over run exhaustion. I put my bags
down by the kitchen table, which is full of
pill bottles, and bills, and a calendar inked
with past appointments. I push it all away.
Underneath, I know I'll find where I'd etched
my initials in that old slab of oak. I run my
fingers across the deep incisions. Trace the
outline of a childhood memory. She had grounded
me for two months for that transgression.
That was the first time I told her that I hated
her, and slammed my door so hard the dishes rattled.
I sit down inside this thought. Then pull out my
pocket notebook. Saturday nights are the only real
time I have to write anymore. Classes, and work
pull time tight these days. I look out the kitchen
window to see how the wind has pushed the snow banks
to the far reaches of the wheat field. The light
from the horse barn is scarce, but just enough
to see three deer in the shadows by the creek bed.
I rest my head on the table, and begin to dream.
I dream about the rusty horseshoes hanging above
the saddles in the barn. I wake near four a.m.,
to see that the deer have wandered to another field.
Far away, but I still see them. They must be there