She circled the date she would wrap her car around a tree in blue eyeliner
on her wall calendar, a question mark scrawled inside the box. Everyone
was talking at the funeral about how she knew her day was coming— the closed
casket and the people in her hometown who preferred to think of lesser things.
Her mother recalled how she could feel the storms coming as a child, counting
the miles between lightning and thunder until they shortened into rain.
Summers, she plucked the exoskeletons of cicadas off the elms to peer through
the spaces they left behind. Where great old barns buckle at the knees,
fields receive what is left of the living into cathedrals of cirrus clouds
and corn. Milkweed seeds, engorged within the shell, remind where
we will suckle from the earth again. On that clear, summer day her body
spirited through the windshield like she had broken free and came to rest
beside the collapsing rafters of an old calving barn, her breath fluttering
into the wind like a butterfly, her laughter emerging from the throat of crows.