Family was our religion
but we lacked the faith of converts
learned to fret separately and stare at the anthill.

We made fried-egg sandwiches when the sun went down
wrapped panbread in waxpaper in the leftover light
comforted by tree-shroud and the weight of our quilts.

Sadness took shape in the dark
and felt like a plan by morning:
leave the scythe and the hayloft, the axe and the woodpile
the rainbarrel is empty but there’s gas in the truck.

Dust will gather beneath our porch
but we’ll be back next summer
to look at the path
where the barbwire sags
and the field meets the fence.

Samantha Malay was born in Berlin, Germany and grew up in rural eastern Washington State. She is a theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, a writer and a mixed-media artist. Her poem/collage ‘Rimrock Ranch’ was exhibited at Core Gallery in Seattle in January 2017.