The Acre

SONY DSCMom has long black hair and laughs a lot. Sometimes she wears braids and looks like a blue-eyed Indian maiden. She smokes while she cooks, pinches the cigarette between her lips, squints, stirs potatoes in a sooty Dutch oven, prods the fire, light sputtering across the acre, embers cast to the stars. The acre is hers. Channell is new. He has a tangled beard and brown eyes and a barrel chest, a bear. When he scolds, he pokes—a stiff finger to the chest—which hurts. When Channell goes too far, Mom steps in, and they bicker, shout, break dishes. This happens more in town. Our recast family works better out here, as if to get along we need all the space of the West. (Guernica, March 2010)

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