Tired mothers

Flooded moon

One night, long before kids, you’re trying to escape your ordinary life, your sadness, your losses, so you go on a solitary trip out in the countryside, where you have never been before. But soon you have to abandon your effort to sleep outside in the dire heat and damp of the woods near the Mississippi River, and you stumble back to your bike to get back on the road, find your way to some town, pay somebody for an indoors bed. Between you and the road where you hid your bike, there are spiderwebs, spiderwebs so huge, so round and so manystranded in the stab of your flashlight. Spiderwebs like a little nightmare that you shove your way through, the thorns of the brambles, the thorns of the rose, the thorns you pull out of yourself later, the dirt that coagulates in patches like scabs, the arcane red dots, the scraggly bruises.

Then you’re on your bike on a back road through flooded fields because the Mississippi is in flood, riding clinging to your handlebars under the orange crescent of an anemic moon, a bruised moon clambering up above the valleys, up above the clouds that soot in the night, that darken the dark, up above the noses of the angry dogs, angry about unknown noses, angry about you, about unknown sweat, unknown sound, unknown rattle, unknown bicycle. A scene so lonely, so eerie, so uncertain that you never quite forget it, and then you have to ride over a bridge over the enormous river, ruffled water darkly below you. When you ask for directions at a gas station in Cape Girardeau, a decrepit river town with a history of open white supremacy, someone takes pity on you and puts your bike in his pickup to drive you to the local motel. There you can rest for a while.

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