Anney E.J. Ryan

Mennonite in Fog

Night in my windshield, safety lights corona:
Warning - warning - watch
She is here.
Bicycle wheels cleft the rainy road
Like chalk on blackboard,
Spray muddy water onto her skirts,
Dirt that no washboard can get out.
In Pennsylvania country, she pedals for Christ.

Hot June rain melts the sky, gravel, and grass together,
Fences, then farms
Smoky clouds funneling in the fields.
I, in my car, and she, on her bike,
As if we travel together through a land of volcanoes
And we are melting too, covered in ash.
When I pass, she is a black ghost,
White blond hair waving from under her cap.
Headlights blind my eyes in the rearview:
Warning - warning - watch
She is here.

We share the same freckles, knobby knees,
Smiles that are a bit too much,
Boyfriends in suspenders,
Grandmothers who died before we could learn their vernacular.
We grow the same Valerian and purple coneflower.
Divided by clothing, and Christ!
All I can do is purchase orange tomatoes at her stand.

There are no clear lines in the fog.
There is no clear path in the street.
Nothing is clear in the place where the grass and gravel meet.

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