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Edith’s Trailer


ISSUE:  Summer 2001
When the sky showed its grey, and the wind-whipped sheets
slapped and tangled, a white line of lunatic tongues
that dripped and licked as you unpinned them, the light
was silver, lit your old yellow dress into something young—
and, without you moving, the skirt lifted
as if you were dancing a wild spin. In the distance,

the towering funnel, stark as a scribbled sketch,
seemed indecisive about its path until it saw
your laundry that must have looked something like home,
though home was only a box and barely
wedded to the ground, one chain that led from the belly
of your Vagabond down to a block of concrete you call

The Dead Man, sunk six feet under, the one who kept you
from heaven. With your hands full of bedding,
all you said was, O my dear! when you saw what was
attracted to you, moving with its great swaying hips
like a randy lover racing across the scrubby flat field.
With your eyes set on this dim ship of wind and dust,

you made your way, step by step, backward to the trailer.
Your husband, peering through the daisy curtains,
was calm, said he’s never seen a bigger thing:
Edith, he said, shut the door, it’s coming
and you dropped your bundle, slammed out the black tide
that darkened every window like the very end:

a milk glass slid from the table, and you
and your husband tilted as your little tin can
was ripped from the rusty grip of The Dead Man,
the haunted drawers flew from their grooves, the forks
and spoons jangled and showered in a quick bright fall,
the two of you lying oddly now, side by side, backs

against the wall, shoulders bruised by the framed photographs
of grandchildren, your eyes, your bodies adjusting
to the turn, the door that had leapt to the ceiling,
the broken window freighted with sky and the sky
moving much too quickly, a red dress and a shoe
flying by. You looked at your husband and knew nothing

was broken because he laughed, living, and you held
his hand and became aware of how still it was,
the whole world waiting, a crowd having already gathered
around your trailer, waiting for you to stand on a chair
and climb from your door, an old woman they will applaud
like a brilliant astronaut rising from her shining craft.

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