“Walking in the Breakdown Lane”
by Louise Erdrich
Wind has stripped
the young plum trees
to a thin howl.
They are planted in squares
to keep the loose dirt from wandering.
Everything around me is crying to be gone.
The fields, the crops humming to be cut and done with.
Walking in the breakdown lane, margin of gravel,
between the cut swaths and the road to Fargo,
I want to stop, to lie down
in standing wheat or standing water.
Behind me thunder mounts as trucks of cattle
roar over, faces pressed to slats for air.
They go on, they go on without me.
They pound, pound and bawl,
until the road closes over them farther on.
I miss the darkness of the Midwest this time of year. California and are a bad fit in many ways. This is the worst. There’s nothing to reflect the darkness of winter around me. Only palm trees and blue skies. I can’t really complain, but I’m missing that grit that has become such a part of me. I feel lost without it.