I went back to bed in the late afternoon and slept briefly, woke disrupted and burdened by what I thought were voices in the living room, rising into the recollection of alone.

I stood in the cool shower stream until the smell of my own skin left me and then drove this blasted landscape of brutal beauty and vastness for close to two hours, arriving at dusk to all four of them at the head of the driveway with upraised wine glasses in the face of my arrival.

My eyes looked like glass shards in the sun yesterday, brief moments of catching their colors in the rear view and being startled by the gleam and dark green refracted.

I kept hearing the word ‘unknown’ repeat itself in my skull like a mantra or a mala bead count, thinking I’d better take cake that the lament repeated did not become the prayer itself, replace unknown with unbound and pray instead for freedom and grace, as the blood beats on in its refusal to relent.

The sky was vast, blue beyond all description, traversing ley lines, wondering at what might have been in attendance, what may have noted my passing through in the late last arc of the early summer sun, one woman alone, moving fast, singing.

©2016 Dora E. McQuaid


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the scorched earth spoken by Dora E. McQuaid


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All peace to you.