At an Edge of Dry Land

She leaves her dreams
In the morning to the fields
And stirs a man’s life in a cast-iron skillet,
Waiting for her children’s cries. She walks
Into town holding two babies to hide
The bruises on her arms. On the
Way back, breathing too hard and walking
Too fast so there will be no questions
Without answers, she picks hurried flowers
And chants in tongues she has never heard.

In her dreams she dances
Like a wild woman,
Like a heathen in some far-off country
Where the land is high and green
And there is no stretching
Midwest America to remind her
That the horizon leads
To the same thing over and over.

She thinks, bending over her sleeping daughters,
That they are blades of grass, a harvest
For some God-fearing husband;
She lifts them, bends to kiss them,
Carries them to the silent waters
Where they fall into her reflection

While she sees herself, watching
And fading, as she tells herself
That they were never meant
To breathe the prarie air anyway.

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