Poling Ranch

c.sdmrogers 2013

The clay beneath her feet was damp, belying the crackles of heat alive in the air.  She dug in her toes. 

The cliff hung from a curve, a bend, a change in the road that she drove each day.  And each day it called to her, whispering her name across its barrier-less edge. 

Cassandra… Cassandra… Cassandra…

And she ignored it.  Tightening her grasp on the wheel, lest the car answer for her.  Until today.

Today she had stopped.

Today she had gotten out of the car.

Today she had slipped out of the platform wedge extensions of her feet to dig her coral-coloured toes into the clay of her native land.


Canyons fell before her.  Not deep but deep enough.  Less brown and more green, the result of unusual summer Rain on the Plains in 2009.   But there is no climate change.  No greenhouse effect.  No worries. 

No worries.

Cassandra… Cassandra… Cassandra…

But there was wind.  Still and always wind.  She closed her eyes.  Oh, how she loved that smell – there was no other like it in the world.  Assisi came close, but that had been the dirt – deep, dark, old – so old.  She had wanted to bury her face in the dirt of Assisi, breathe it, eat it, become it.  Yes, close.  But not the same.  There was nothing the same.  Nothing the same as this. 

She lifted her arms.

The sound of flying cars enveloped her from behind, but she sloughed them off.  She was invisible.  As children are when they close their eyes, blocking you from view.

She opened her hands.

Wind licked her palms and for a moment she smiled.  Opening her eyes, she saw the canyons full of life.  No, not of life, but of death.  Death.  So much death.  Surveying, she saw Cap – felt the touch of his hoary hand on her cheek, the kiss of his dry lips that followed.  She saw Lee – still clinging, still walking, the scarred skin hanging from the tiny bones of her legs, the fragile, fierce bones of her legs, walking from one century into the next.  She saw Omar – little Omar.  And there were no words.  Only his tubed and swaddled body, lost in the baby-blue sheets of a hospital bed. 

But above it all, beyond it all, hovering on the horizon, was She.  And beyond her, stood He.  Both of them out of reach.  Both of them gone.  Both of them lost.

Cassandra… Cassandra… Cassandra…

She knew the voices were full of lies.  Yes, she knew this.  And yet they were also full of safety, full of calm, full of peace.  The breath of the voices was sweet with sage and flowers and death , familiar death, and she longed to float in them, longed to lie with them forever holding her in their false but tender grasp.

She stepped to the edge of the cliff, her well-pedicured heels hanging from the edge.

She lifted her throat to the cloudless sky.

And – for a moment – she was able to fly.

©s rogers 1 January 2010