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Maureen Murphy

Watching for Sign

They are in the pickup, father and daughter, coffee cups
cradled in palms, breath crystallizing the air between them.
They ride the persistent lurch of the truck as if it is a horse

with a rough gait, listen to the slow grind of bearings,
the heater on its last legs. He slows the truck as a scuffed trail
crosses the road, indicates with a slight rise of chin, a narrow path

into the frosted grass of the ditch. She acknowledges the path,
also with a slight lift of chin. They are both recalling the deer
trail winding through a field of corn from the shallow crick

a quarter mile away. When he pats his shirt pocket, she opens
the glove box, pulls a cigarette from the pack, lights it,
hands it over. After a deep rut, the truck continues to buck.

They do not say it, but each is thinking about another world, a world
with new shocks and heater fan, smoother, quieter even than this.


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