We live on a dirt road to the east of everywhere. The dirt will never leave us. Dirt is loyal unlike my ex-husband who left me for the farmer’s wife. All three of them live together: farmer, farmer’s wife, and my ex-husband.
In the mornings, before sunrise, I fill a bucket full of dirt. I gather the dirt. I let it fall between my fingers into the bucket. I usually see the farmer out with chores and animals. He carries a bucket, too. If he sees me he turns away like I’m some strange, dirt-eating Midwesterner.
If you hate someone in this town you call them a Midwesterner. Everyone laughs.
My ex and the farmer’s wife don’t roll out of bed till noon. They watch old VHS tapes and eat Twizzlers until dusk. The farmer needs help, I can tell. His horse looks depressed. His chickens are losing their feathers.
I saw the goats gathered by the well, telling stories, and laughing at him as he chased a pig. I think he, the farmer, was hoping another pair of strong hands would help since his tractor broke down. But my ex is useless. The night my ex left me he told me apple pie is way better than dirt.
There are nights when the moon is low and huge and this dry countryside is one big afterglow. On these nights I put my son to bed and wait for him to sleep. When his breaths deepen I go out into the radiance of the moon. I find a good spot to sit and view the farmer’s house. I see through the windows. I find the farmer’s wife sitting on my ex’s lap. Vodka is rotting their teeth. The farmer is in another room reading an old hardcover. I see him. His face animates with every turn of the page. First he appears to be on the verge of tears.
Then there is illumination.
When he places the book back on his nightstand, dread imprisons him. I know what dread looks like. I take a pinch of dirt and stick it on the inside of my lip. Sharp pieces cut into my gums. Particles sneak into the cuts and travel in my blood, passing through my heart.
I lay on the dirt road and look to the sky. A case of the hiccups overcomes me. They say it’s unhealthy to look directly into the light of a super moon.
Is it terrible of me to tell you my lust in this moment? Not for the farmer. For my husband. Believe me, I wanted to think of the farmer, him on top of me, pounding me into the dirt. I did, I tried to imagine it with the farmer. But it’s him, the father of my son; I can still feel his weight, I remember what it was like. How could I ever forget?
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