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Missouri

BY TR BRADY

 

Glad, gone. Travelling, also. The quick ornamentation of sidewalks. The dangerous topography of corn-land glowing white with November’s hard residue. My second Iowa winter and still without a snowbrush. Every winter I make the drive from Iowa to Arkansas to Iowa. Every drive I attempt to count the rolling hills, but how fast they are to run together.

The rolling hills appear at points to be shifting. I know tectonics must be at some hot slowplay, but not well enough to name the sensation.

Last month, early morning Cedar Rapids, a man and his dog. At first, and again, I couldn’t comprehend the scene. The clouds low and flat and grey and the overpasses lower and flatter and greyer. A steady rain. The man in the median wet and screaming. In his arms, a pit bull.

Maybe not the last drive to Arkansas, a deer, nearly dead. Well off the road. At sixty miles an hour I shouldn’t have seen it.

The berm off the rock wall, high. The tan grass. Her tan body. But a jerking. But her red mouth. I tried to imagine her shaking it off, leaping into the forest, but couldn’t stomach it. I tried to will a hunter happening upon her. Kept checking my rearview mirror on the long stretch, long past the point I could reasonably see her.

 

Every drive, after having been driving for a while, I become unsure of my location—the trick of borders being that they are invisible. This drive, no different. Left Iowa’s bleached morning early. The indication of Missouri nondescript, save for the fireworks outlet off the highway, which I used to think was in Iowa. Tall and red ribbed metal and open even in the winter.

Nothing like the fireworks stands back home—red and white tents lining highway 5 every June. Gravel and grass parking and Cave City watermelons and Church of Christ boys.

Suddenly, somewhere, a jake brake, shaking the dog of my daydreams.

TR BRADY.png

TR Brady is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Tin House Online, Copper Nickel, Colorado ReviewDenver Quarterly, Quarterly West, Pleiades, and The Arkansas International

 

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