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RUTS AT AUNT LAURA’S HOUSE

We came over the prairie like the morning sun
sliding our happy light through every crevice
of the rutted road, the trim box of Aunt Laura’s
farmhouse gleaming far on the dark land.

But when we neared, the ruts were too deep
for us to turn aside—so many travelers had
passed her by—we had to drive on west,
following our car’s long morning shadow

until the resonant earth grew flat enough
for us to turn, and drive back over the sod
to Laura’s. A gate but no fence. Mailbox
rusted to rudimentary glory. Garden gone wild.

At the screen, my father knocked. We heard
the far, inward step come dimly toward us
from the 19th century. The door yawned slow.
“How are you, Laura?” “I can’t complain.”

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