Kim Mannix

May was just lost.
It crumbled into the shoulder
somewhere between
Maidstone and Lloyd.
I watched it take three rolls
in the side view mirror
before it turned to dust.

I placed my hand on your forearm
warm from the sun through the window.
I'm always surprised
how soft you are.
Three shades darker than me
even when we've both spent
hours renewing
ourselves in dirt.

We hoped for a coyote trotting in the ditch.
A hawk doing sky donuts
gloating as he looped, while we forged straight.
Maybe a herd of roan cattle
all facing west.
Anything but a deer, bounding.
We're too familiar with this road.

I wanted it to be the last time
we'd be here for a while, heading back.
Back home, though we can say that
no matter which way we drive.
Past home, or present home.
The timeline has gone slack.

This might be our summer.
Trips to check.
Spend just a few more hours
with her while I can.
Kids' birthdays at my old house.
The venue imperfect.
But there's the chance the commune
will slow her vanishing.

The drone of the tires
on rutted asphalt
bore itself into both
our skulls.

We looked forward to our bed
though I left it unmade.
I thought about our bags, better unpacked.
The clothes will keep.
And it will be one less thing to do
in case the next trip is our last.

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