Strands of hay whirl away from the truck, wafting out, down, and over all things, lifted by the breeze from the rocking motion of the truck on the uneven road, wafting down to lay a golden carpet on the concrete, strand by strand rolling past beneath my wheels, the late fall light slanting through the cloud still in the air. I am encased in a world of gold dust and threads, thinking of all those who’d urge me pull out, speed up, and hurry past the steady truck driver those who’ve died from the sheer weight of their lives, the things that shone marking their path, and I want to taste my mother’s slumgullion, made in the days when poor women, small women, dark women, plain women, large women, our women did not get to choose what type of woman they were going to be, but did what they could to get by, making do - days when a high school friend who worked in the meat market would slip her a white-wrapped package of cast-off trimmings and she’d simmer them with spices and sauce made from anything on hand, and the taste would roll around our tongues at the dinner table, surrounded by the afternoon light slanting through the dust on the windows, the dust motes glowing in those beams, and we never thought of telling her how he would touch us in the alley behind the house, smelling of blood and bone dust, because because because there was the look in her eyes, the same look as always in his wife’s eyes, the look we felt rising in us, and that we did not yet know how to resist.
Judith Mikesch McKenzie is a teacher, writer, actor and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. She has traveled widely, but is always drawn to the Rocky Mountains as one place that feeds her soul. Writing is her home. She has recently placed/published in two short-story contests, and her poems have been published in Pine Row Press, Halcyone Literary Review, Plainsongs Magazine, Hole In The Head Review, Wild Roof Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Meat for Tea Valley Review, and several others. She is a wee bit of an Irish curmudgeon, but her friends seem to like that about her.
The Bone Year 2
Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer. She is the author of Hematology (winner of the 2021 Harbor Editions Laureate Prize) and Body Parts (winner of the 2017 GFT Press Chapbook Prize). She received her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana. Learn more about her work at kristinlafollette.com.