The Housewife Dreams the Drifter

Here beneath the hems
of evergreen, beside
the weathered shed
where sunlight doesn’t reach,
the housewife squints
and takes it all in
until she sees him
standing near the broken
bones of railroad track,
smoking, staring back.

Last week she searched
each morning after
dropping off the kids.
When he didn’t appear
in her rearview mirror,
or rise from the cold
exhaust of some
delivery truck,
she began to leave
her bedroom window
open through the night,
to leave the door
unlatched, to make
winding tracks through
the woods, dropping gifts
of homemade bread,
spit-shined apples, a split
of wine uncorked
on the back porch.

One day she undresses
and leaves her clothes
in a pile beside
the snow, dances
naked beneath the pine
boughs, gathers brush and twigs
to build a hut around
a bed of rags and straw,
burns dried lavender
and roses in a tin
bucket by the door.
The tracks she finds
are just her husband’s
taking out the trash.
In dreams he comes.
She fixes the broken
split-rail fence, sets a trap
to keep him in.