by Kari Despain
(published in Rockvale Review, November 2019)
driving for dawn, a wind storm shaking the November landscape until it throbs for color. Our bones ache for home. My children whisper from the back seat have you ever seen a person die? I don’t tell them about their father who is right then, secretly drug-sick and huddled against the passenger door like a child hides from a giant. I tell them about the Vegas airport when I was young—the oldest of them a fresh verve in my belly. A man stopped by a vacant desk to have a heart attack. We watched his tanned vacation face spoiling yellow with death until the medics arrived. An empty sick biting at our hulls while blue-shirts, red-faced, crouched, attempting to bellow a soul back into the coals of his inner self, panting to see a vermillion glow, a white-hot moment, erupt and throw flames back into his eyes.