Hobble Creek Review
Heading south from Nebraska City, the news still fresh, just an hour old.
“Come home,” she’d said. “Daddy’s dead.”
I drive in suspended time: a time without frame, without rite, an unearthly
time between the hospital bed and the wake.
On the March horizon corn cribs protect last fall’s harvest, their elevated
bounty taunting the rats below. In the foreground, a farmer spreads slurry
onto his field, starting the cycle over again. I roll down my window for a quick
whiff but I can’t smell a thing.
At my regular Sinclair half way home I buy gas, use the bathroom. Same rose
wallpaper, same popcorn ceiling, but a new towel dispenser jammed under the
old Tampax machine. A young shoot grafted onto a withering branch. A
The bridge across the Missouri--the causeway--a mile from home. Too fast.
Too soon. I pull off at the boat landing, walk to the river’s edge. My boot
heels sink an inch in the frosted flats. Not enough to really matter; the
ground still captive to winter’s chill.
My muscles remember though, judder and ache for July: the woodpeckers
drilling; frog holes bubbling; candy wrappers joyriding downstream; the
bagworms busy spinning silk skirts
in the trees; and me, planting my bare feet deep into the warm mud bed. On
the summer breeze honeysuckle and mildew blend, the perfume of life
But it’s not July. And I still can’t smell a thing.
Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska. Her poems have
appeared or are forthcoming in the Alehouse Press, Blue Collar Review,
Halfway Down the Stairs, Nebraska Life, Paddlefish, Pemmican, Plains Song
Review, and the anthologies Words Like Rain and The Great American Road