Two Poems by Rachel Michelle Hanson

Crossing one of those places where utah meets wyoming

Windmills massive and white, stop the land
where it meets what some might call the heavens.
A tunnel closes me in, long, like an echo, then gone—
a tunnel opens, lets me out, and there is only almost nothing
spanning, everywhere.

Down the highway, that long stretch
of Eighty, I know the town of Green River is
just over there. And I know that town has
enough—the water, its current, pushing away
from train tracks and filling stations.

The Colorado is running slow
before the run-off of spring, and that river
is perfect, despite the cold. The wind kicking up dirt
not yet frozen to the ground, blowing too hard for an easy row,
but I wouldn’t mind—all that pulling.

Slick roads with slick bridges slow down
my departure from the West. Still, I don’t make a turn
for the put-in and feel a hit to my stomach while
I slowly push past the wind’s call as the snow
pitches a fit, trying for a white-out.

I discover the darkness of a warm shape, an antelope
some feet away from her flock. Her neck long, muzzle wet,
untamed in a bridled land. Her face meets the snow, braces against it,
her gaze rests on the passing cars, cautious.
Her body, firm amidst the storm like grace.

A talus slope

—looks soft, the way it slides,
spills so easy, sloping down beneath the Dox.
She was old, they will say, it was her time. I will mutter
something about being sorry and that I tried.

The thing about that talus, it’s not all soft.
And that fall, it would break any bone, would
catch and pull at any skull, rip any skin.

A wrong step, maybe a foot stuck
in a crevice or an imploding knee or maybe
she was just dizzy, but all I see is her body cartwheel
off the edge. The dull sound of body hitting earth

and I think I move fast, but am so slow, slower than her
rolling softness, slower behind her wounds that marked
their way down: her hair, all white—her blood, wetting dirt

Rachel Michelle Hanson earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Utah and currently pursues a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Missouri. Her work has appeared in Storysouth, So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, Creative Nonfiction, South Loop Review: Creative Nonfiction + Art, and South Dakota Review.