Walking your dog, Cookie,
through the low curbs of Carson,
wondering who will cash your check
for misery, for rain, so that you
might escape the brick terrace
of rent, of living outside this land—
the rucksack piled in your sled
you drug up the snow of Wild Rose Creek
to meet me. I wonder too, Maria,
when the cash burns through
and you stare at the night post
of stars, to ask if any blooded
creature will help, I wonder
who will dance into your weekly motel
to save one more night from disgrace.
It's not like this, I know.
You insist the land is yours,
the car will start and the door will open.
To whom, I do not know—but to you,
black curls and fleece, it might be
Dorothy, the Tin Man or the Lion
in the archway. It might be us
who try to sleep beneath those same
jagged stars. Even now, at the post
with no key for your disability check,
the dog laps snow from steps,
and the rain down south washes its people
from the streets. I hope you make it, Maria—
to the candle in the church
outside of Chihuahua, Texas or Tourmaline—
wasn't that the last place you visited,
with Cookie on his string and your sled
close behind, woman of the bone and arrow,
woman who must hunt soft eyes to eat.
None at this time.