Gail Hosking: “Wasson at Mid-afternoon”

Wasson at Mid-afternoon

On the front porch swing you could see
dust flying from an old Ford truck
headed your way so you stare
and stare for one large minute
because you are lonely, so lonely
you might melt into one of those
tractor tires filled with marigolds. You might
run away with one of the wandering mutts
hungry for your grandmother’s slop bucket
she left in the barn. No fans. No bathtub.
Nothing sweet or cold. Who could stand it?
Not you singing the top ten buzzing on the radio
from far off St. Louis. Not your sisters
down at Kenny Miller’s to use his phone
as you grow dizzy and dizzier from the heat.
Not a friend in sight. Not an invitation to count.
Not even a river to wade through. Just miles
of cornfields, the sound of your grandfather’s demands
for another cup of coffee. As the truck passes
in a dirty cloud and the temperature rises,
your powder blue culottes and seersucker blouse
grow wet. A pregnant cat comes to the stairs.
It was like this:
sometimes you disappear
and not a soul knows. Long before you have
a right to imagine so, you want to leave
this earth, leave it now before anyone notices.

Gail Hosking is the author of the memoir Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and out of War (University of IowaPress) and the poetry chapbook The Tug (Finishing Line Press). Her essays and poems have been anthologized several times and appeared in such places as Camera Obscura, 100 Word Stories, Upstreet, Elipsis, Post Road, and Consequence Magazine. She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Two recent essays were considered “most notable” in Best American Essays of 2014, 2015.

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