even though no sani-seat covers
in the regular stall in the ladies room
at the Standard Station in Lovelock,
a town where lovers lock their love.
In the handicapped stall the lock doesn’t work.
You prop your purse against the door.
The Sikh at the register scowls.
I wonder why he’s here.
I miss the woman with bubblegum hair.
I wonder what happened to her.
Fernley on ramp
Enter Interstate 80 and head east
These are the exits you didn’t take:
Rye Patch Dam
Exit the interstate at Golconda
Mostly dirt road home
Painting by Marti Bein
Jackrabbits eating apples on the lawn,
unripened fruit dropping out of season.
I find their quietude disconcerting,
disguising damage they did last winter
killing my young poplar trees.
I find morning stillness disconcerting.
Even without a breeze, I get a whiff
of the Goose Creek fire in Idaho,
and a whiff of death from the inferno
of the Carr fire in Redding, California.
I can’t really smell terrified children,
singed fur, charred bark, but it feels like it.
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .