243 Miles

243 Miles

A dead doe disapproves from the ditch as I drive my mother to a wedding in a barn.
“Is that alfalfa or corn?” my mother asks, but her father’s ghost does not reply.

The next corpse is mostly a stain. It rolls beneath us in a bloody ombre
of eggplant to dusty-mauve to greige like a tasteful bridesmaid’s taffeta.

Mother explains the trouble with her thumb knuckle.
I pity a lump of fur and bone.

It’s never a buck. Never horns. Always the females that wander into the path
of a Wrangler with dangling truck nuts.

At mile 122 I apologize for having no children.
She apologizes for my apology. Her foot finds an imaginary brake.

– Teresa Kiplinger

Photo by Giorgio Trovato

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