I was always told you were a hermit living out your days on a decrepit shanty boat. An old relic who shut his self away from the world. I reckon your hands were calloused with the repetition of mending crawdaddy traps, honing fish knives, and polishing a rusting gun barrel. Inheriting your old trunk, I take inventory, as does a relic digger, with patience and brush strokes and the delicate blowing of dust particles. I map out your promises, kept in tightly bound letters. You took love to the bank, you bet the farm on forever. You thumbed it to Denver. You spent two weeks in a jail in Salina. You hopped a train to the Mississippi. But you didn’t bet on the dust. You didn’t bet on empty bellies. I unpack your knife whittlings: wetland critters with unusual faces. an otter pup with his mouth opened wide in silent joy, unable yet to swim, hugging his mama’s belly. A protective papa with broad whiskers and watchful eyes grooming a soggy, eyes-shut-tight youngling. A neatly folded newspaper calls you a survivor, a husband, a father.
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Eve Brackenbury lives in Midwest, USA. As a history interpreter, she can tell you that it used to be called the Far West in the early 1800s. She’s the author of three books of poetry and has found homes in a number of anthologies, journals, and e-zines. A Civil War Paranormal Investigator once swore she channeled the voice of a dead, confederate widow. But Eve laughed it off and rolled her eyes just a little bit.