Abandon With Intent
She tromps haphazardly, her feet slipping along the shoulder of the highway.
Shoulders hunched, cheeks flushed, lips cracked
her mind, burnished by the rub of ambiguity
now shines clearly, determined
fists pump in rhythm with her feet. Tense. Staccato.
Sun glints, a steely ray bounces from her sunglasses
strobe lights dance with every step.
The road radiates high-noon heat, melts the thin soles of her cheap canvas shoes.
Rubber prints smear atop shifting gravel.
Is anything more left behind?
A bruise, a blistering welt filling with liquid warmth,
these grow, bloom.
The air smells dry, stagnant.
She thinks how the wind blew promises through her hair that day
however long ago,
perched beside him in his pickup truck,
flying off Interstate 70, breezes lifting her from doubts
like the outstretched wings of a blackbird chick
perched at nest’s edge.
Her mind had leapt, heady from the fumes of newfound freedom,
she abandoned her gas station job,
left only a short farewell note. She hoped no one there would miss her.
People always tumbled through, didn’t stay in that dirt poor town.
A bird cries a shriek of protest, wings clumsily flapping
as a gust of wind now laughingly blows her dust-bowl dreams back in her eyes.
She stops, looks about her, dark hair clinging to her neck,
pulls the skirt of her dress from the ball it’s made between her thighs.
Frightened, relieved she is still alone.
No one pursues her.
High above, vultures circle.
Agreeing to live in that God-forsaken far-flung cabin
alone with him –
madness. Sheer lunacy. That’s what loneliness does. Crushes the spirit
between icy fingers, until the visions left are shrunken, monochrome.
Funny thing to say, in a place known for scenic vistas.
Tired of the local hill-billy drama, she’d felt like an old woman
who’s outgrown her sagging skin and brittle bones, waiting for everything
He was there, the bulk of him refusing to be ignored,
stopping through to fill his truck, stopping just to chat her up. Simple.
She thought she knew him well enough.
“But Grandmother, what big teeth you have!” “All the better
to eat you with, my dear!”
The nursery rhyme replays in her ears.
He had went on about the peace he had, the view,
not a neighbor for miles around. “Privacy, Peg,
to do anything we want! Not like here, in town. Think of it!” Yes.
Think of what to say, after finally seeing this man’s dark wilderness
for what it was – a fast-growing bramble snagging her, tangling her in.
There really weren’t any words,
only choices: stay, kept in this forest folly,
or turn and leave, going – anywhere. Away.
Away is a choice. Finally, she’d made her choice.
But she should never had said. He would never have seen.
He was blind drunk by lunch again,
staggering, almost senseless.
“You’ll never leave me, Peg,” he slurred,
“You’re all mine.” He chuckled, patting the truck key in his pocket.
His swift back-hand propelled her – she tumbled to the knife,
white rage scream gushes from the chest the cotton dress stained in bright rust-colored splashes scurrying up the path careen toward miles upon miles of open road
The kettle of vultures abandoned the trees they’d perched on
waiting patiently atop the crag of red rock.
She’d been stumbling toward them for some time.
She hadn’t noticed.
The orange sun cautiously creeps lower,
sinking toward the black ribbon of road stretched over the scrub desert
like an elastic band, bending further, and still further away
into the distance.
Slow-moving specks, or are they rocks shivering with her, ahead?
She was sure she had seen the lights of a car reflected.
The vultures circle yet lower
Crystal Snoddon is a fledgling writer from the frozen North (Northern Canada), who loves all things word related, wakes far too early in the morning to be a party animal and has a serious lust for poetry.