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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Erika Lee Williams


A Bunkhouse

A small stucco house deep in the rurals – it’s hard to say if anyone lives here. Inside on the windowsill a scavenged bird’s nest; behind that, a shelf of books, a woven green bedspread tucked tight beneath the mattress…

The crooked plank stairs to my grandparents’ bunkhouse were icy even on summer mornings. I woke one night in Dad’s arms in valley darkness as he carried me from the main cabin. Distance of stars… Distance of hills…

It seemed so far – I waited in terror for the wolves whose howls we had heard in the hills. But we made it safely to our beds, safe above the earth – above Grandpa’s shop. The cold sheets became warm from our bodies.

Ten years ago they sold the ranch. I went back to see it a couple years ago, but it’s not the same. My sister says Grandpa’s almost completely lost his hearing.

As I turn from the stranger’s place, sleet glitters down through sunrays onto a withered pasture...

a fallen leaf
blows the peeling shed
into storm clouds

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