My sister waits for a car to pass before turning her truck onto the gravel road. It juts upward, over train tracks that lie just out of sight from the highway. People have died crossing here, Gwen says, checking both directions before starting the truck forward.
As we drive toward her new property, bought at an auction sight unseen, the gravel is loose, and the truck slips like it's on ice as we coast downhill. We pass the river, barely turning our heads, and stop in the driveway farther up the road. A rusted trailer home stands between two of the ugliest pines I've ever seen. An old car sits like a turkey carcass in the tall grass.
At least it's quiet, I say as the cooling truck engine pings.
the yard ...
The garage looks salvageable, Gwen says as we stand beside it peering up. To me, it seems the day's light breeze could fold the garage walls like linen, but I nod.
I rap on the metal door, and pigeons flutter in the rafters. We step inside. Tiny bones litter the floor.
the spider's web
We walk to the edge of the property and overlook the marsh. This, Gwen says, is why I bought it.
The wetlands, recently created, were built by the state, a recompense for lost waters. As we walk the paths, turtles bask on sun-soaked logs. A muskrat swims away. In the distance, trumpeter swans float on silvered clouds.
I can't believe this is your backyard, I say.
We turn a sharp corner. A duck hunter's blind sits in the grass.
the sound of frogs