shes a silverhaired woman on the porch looking down at the old buffalo run that once was. shes standing on an Everest of years with a heart as light as a pebble.
this lightness it is spilling out of her like it was water over the brim of a drinking glass held to catch a waterfall and she speaks and it washes over me cold and clean and I cant say nothing else.
we’d all been inside all day for two days talking about how to help those whove fallen through the cracks to the wolves, bars, and police cars. we are taking a smoke break cause the cracks are wide and yonder dogs are hungry.
she thanks me and thanks the rest of us for this gift of a day. she smiles, lights a cigarette, says ‘good luck with that battle into medical school, we’ll look for you on the other side. Me, I’ll still be kicking. HAH!’ she shakes her head, and leans on the railing and sweeps her gaze like a hawk across the plains.
I had been standing there incredulous that she has seen all these winters, darker winters than Ive ever known naked with the wind howling through the snow. I was thinking, how in the fuck is it that she never laid down and died under the weight, even when she wanted to, even when the world pointed towards it and said ‘you must?’ but then it occurred to me that that a heavy burden long carried is not so easy to cast off. it starts to settle deep till it shapes the shoulders under it. it is even as we speak twisting through my guts like a beautiful but troublesome vine that will kill the tree if you cut it off. I put my hand to my stomach in wonderment.
but she has seen this before, knows how it is. and now above this buffalo run that’s given way to soybeans and other strange fruits, she she starts to laugh
and it catches and we roar with it, doubling over, until tears stream down our cheeks.