New Mexico’s dirt crept around my ankles,
sniffing to see if I belonged.
The rest stop with the railroad crossing
felt like home the way some places do

when the people at the gas station 
don’t make eye contact, 
but hold the door open anyway
when they see you coming.

It’s a long way to the desert mountains
from Kentucky, through the open
grounds of Kansas, where I never felt 
more vulnerable or exposed.

Fingers cracked and bleeding from the dryness, 
I watched a train pass so closely its shadow
left a mark across my chest, a reminder
of where the sun can’t go.