She ordered a pair of tennis shoes
for walking across the country
one step at a time
cause that’s the only way you get anywhere.
That’s what her grandmother whispered in her ear
when she lay dying in Brigham County Hospital.
But that was when the girl was nine,
and now the moment
was, quite decidedly,
a thing of the past
just like the number of push ups she could do,
and the deep tan lines painted on her back.
she always took with her
the sound of her mother’s voice,
the rough feel of her father’s flannel,
her sister’s angular embrace.
She packed too
the sound of ocean against
the edges of a pitched tent by the sea,
brustling cicadas nestled in humid air,
crashing thunder, smokey eyes,
and the fishy smell of the river at dawn.
Maybe they didn’t help her
when packs of wolves followed her through the night,
when her mental paralysis threatened
to get the best of her.
But maybe they did.
Maybe the threads kept her going
until she reached the Altantic that she needed–
the place she needed to find–
before she could go home.