I’m crying

a little bereft

I picture the girl in a cotton dress with a cardboard suitcase

standing by the side of a dusty road

out on the Plains somewhere and

she’s waiting for the bus to top the hill and

pull up with a snort of exhaust

no one is here to see her off but

that’s ok because

she is going to a new life now and


these days being what they are

she’s carrying a new life in her womb and


she’s named it Rose and

she touches her stomach and


Ssshhhh Rosie it’s going to be alright

although she doesn’t know if that’s true and

she doesn’t know how far 40 dollars and 23 cents will take her

to Omaha maybe

maybe even further if she skips dinner

she feels the dampness under her arms and

along the band that holds her hair back off her face

she hopes the bus will come soon

she doesn’t know if they’ll come looking for her but

it’s in the Lord’s hands now

she checks her pocketbook one more time and

looks up to see the roof of the bus cresting the hill

then the headlights

then the tires wet from the mirage and

then the whole thing as big as a house

windows all dusty so you can’t see the driver

only his bulky shadow

where are you headed, miss

as he pulls the door lever open

she reaches for the handrail and

pulls herself up the high steps

Omaha she says

might as well.


May 10, 2021, 7:24:10 PM

Nebraska Stories