About the Weather


Word was she’d hitched west
from the tip of Kentucky to get

away from a man and twenty
acres of sorghum this drought

baked into dust. Her boom’s
gone bust was someone’s idea

of a joke, until the housekeeper
in Mayfield pulled a road atlas

and spent condoms from Super
8 linen. Its pages creased open

to Illinois: her chosen route
traced gray roads north, a faint

graphite x over Paris, the words
“truck stop” underscored with

three tiny hearts
++++++++++++where her lover

grinds awake to find the chrome
bulldog absent from his Mack,

where women with aspirations
spread salve onto the muscles

of grown men they call Baby,
where bean walkers piss steam

into the last half-hour before
dawn and zip themselves back

up in jeans, relieved and wet
with dreams. She’ll soon see

the fine patchwork of Chicago,
pastel shapes labeled with posh

names of suburbs she believes
are near enough to taste. Wave

to its satin skyline. Never reveal
which village is their own: sun

burn pink, lavender, faded peach.
With whom she won’t be found.

Until, back home, talk returns to
the brutal, unchangeable weather.

Todd Smith