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I wake to the wilderness in her eyes and a futile wish for cool air from the ceiling fan. Morning coffee and a cigarette on the porch. Shafts of sun and smoke tendrils. The coffee still too hot to sip. Unhurried, our talk is hushed and spare.

She mourns the death of the local dive bar. Its small-town heyday of loud townies anchored till 2 am, drunk fists pounding on the bar. 3rd shift patrons with 8 am bottles of Bud. It’s the simple loss that hurts the most.

Sundress and bare feet in the passenger seat. Her hair dancing. She plays with the wind out her window. Rearview mirror a greening season in bright retreat. Nothing but wide-open. Tires humming their miles-song.

Her echo won’t let me let go. I wake alone under the stars with home a thousand miles away. Shoulders of gravel and ground tires. Wilderness. I’m told Corpus Christi means the body of Christ. Maybe there I’ll say the hardest things I have to say.

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