Every girl here is a nightingale, unbelieved and weaving songs she cannot sing. We receive nothing in the end. An empty inheritance, a handful of threats. An empty field after harvest, weeds burning in the ditch. Air filled with the scent and sting of smoke. Almost comfort, almost enough. If we are lucky, we leave. We are transformed and we find our flight away. … The wilderness was desert, was farmland pockmarked with grain elevators, rusted metal, rusted out cars, abandoned sheds, barns, the old school, the old garage, the line of buildings piled high with old furniture, brick church, bonfire, backwoods, back alleys, backyards, garages, home. And silence left no obvious scar. There was never any proof to hold up, a withered stump crying offense to the gods, crying offense to the prophets and protectors and parents. No. There was just crying in all its fruitlessness. … Silence is its own bleak thing. There is no metaphor for this. Knuckles scraped on rock or brick. Leave it as it is. You cannot bandage it. There is no healing without the open wound in open air, the damage there where everyone can see. … Good morning windswept dawnlight, farmland growing more barren, decay, generations who have lived here, children who will not stay. I would like to write a lovesong to memory. I have forgotten the memory for which I would sing. It is all lost and gone. It is a hollow thing. The roots no longer run that deep. This is a beautiful land. We have marked it and marred it, carved our initials into it, determined we must not be forgotten. It is still a beautiful land. Bury me in topsoil. Make me easy carrion. Give me away only then, don’t allow me to be prey. … Somewhere the sun is rising in reverse. I cannot recognize it without the backdrop of home, the slope of the mountains far to the east and far to the west, the slope of my neighbor’s roof outside my window. In memory, my mother walks to the middle of the road, shades her eyes and watches the sunset, one hand on her hip. I would like to write a lovesong to the lonely land where I grew, to imagine I flew over like a lonely bird, like an ordinary bird, to imagine I never got lost in these specifics. … The air has stilled and is filled with waiting. Each bird has returned to her nest, each rabbit to his burrow. We are instinctual, filled with hiding. We know the sound of thunder before it rumbles in our ears, the flash of lightning before it fills our vision. Have you seen panic in the eye of a horse? The rolling reveal of white? The tremble and tense of muscle? The danger is there at the base and the height of fear. We are not taught that fear, neither the paired sorrow, but we have learned. Every mile on this highway is an ode to the evening news, and it has been bad news for months. We drive on.