Dawn breaks like an egg on the highway,
Light spilling through the trees to rest on the blue
bruised half-moons beneath her eyes. She keeps
her foot against the pedal, one hand in the fold
of her jacket pocket. Her cell phone buzzes, her gut
twists, and his voice echoes: “a house, a yard, maybe a dog”
The phone cracks against the side door, falling by dog-
-eared roadmaps. Drowning the call with the roar of the highway,
she wants for inner concrete: decisively gutting
the crust of the earth in a permanent band. But as the sky swallows more blue,
sun exposes the worry-soaked fold
lines where her fingers met her knuckles, empty of the ring he kept
hidden for three months in a bran cereal box. He knew she kept
to a breakfast of day-old Chinese food instead, doggedly
digging in matte white boxes. His laughter lines peeked over the centerfold
of the Sunday newspaper, as she surfaced from digital superhighways
with the next crossword line: scrawled in bleeding ink by her blue
tinged fingers. She supposed that morning he finally found the guts.
His words fell smooth, easy on the first swallow but her gut
anguished at their weight, her insides better kept
to the easy promises, the favor-making, secret-keeping, dog-
walking kind she could shrug to. The something old, new, borrowed, blue
demanded will, boxed and taped and wrapped in the folds
of white tissue paper. She hit the highway
6 hours ago, the ring in her jacket pocket, jumping with NY State Highway
55 as it bent toward a familiar exit. Memories: her mother gutting
duck with chicken bone scissors. The clean press of folded
bed linens, aired out in the oak-thick yards of Poughkeep-
-sie. Her car idled outside the colonial, the shutters still blue.
A black lab lay sleeping on the steps: “a house, a yard, maybe a dog”
Her phone shuddered on the floor and the dog
barked. She set her bald tires rolling again to the highway,
her thoughts still of the egg-yolk kitchen against her father’s dirt-caked boots, his blue
collar sensibilities, and the contented swell of his gut.
He was of similar flex and shrug as she, but never went a day without keeping
a family photo tucked into his front pocket fold.
Her folded fingers unfurled in her own pocket, slow, like growing Kentucky bluegrass.
Playing with the ring, she felt in her gut a warm peace—a house, a yard, a dog—
She worked the band round the knuckle-crease as tires spun, down the highway and out Poughkeepsie.