On Her Hip
The inn worker said this wasn't run-of-the-mill, and he handed the
keys over. He'd asked her if it was domestic. She didn't need to
say much. Bruise on her cheek, ripped shirt. Her baby now sleeping on her hip.
The room felt like euthanasia, a mouse-click into detox. She put her
baby in the roll-in, ran a bath, deep, like the ponds of her childhood. She closed her eyes and thought she heard the handle. Turning, wet. She ran up and found her baby still, asleep and empty-fisted.
She parked, paying the attendant. Said hello, and took the ticket, and she knew where to go.
She walked along, where the water pushed and pushed and pushed, never
breaking. Birds sat on rocks for a minute.
There were tourists, still, even on this side. With their binoculars
and cameras. Children ran. Husbands hung onto their coolers.
She walked over a bridge. A man was in the news. Not many had survived it.
She looked over, and the sign said not to lean, but she leaned anyway, just to see.
She Wanted to Race
He said he had no antiseptics.
She told him how she fell at the intersection. The ice was melting, but still.
Her hand was bloody and she lifted her pants leg, dabbed.
His daughter ran in looking, and he said this is what happens.
They stood there watching her clean her wounds, closing her eyes when
the sting came.