Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books, Reading Berryman to the Dog, Discount Fireworks and The Mercy of Traffic and On the Way to the Promised Land Zoo, and five chapbooks. See her work on line and in print and in recent anthologies Untold Arkansas, 50/50, Fiolet and Wing: an Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry, Purifying Wind and Poems in the Time of Coronavirus (PITTOC) Vol 2. For more information, check her web site at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com.
Tiffany and the Nimrod took their first night in a motel just past the truck stop, in a scarlet and white bridal suite. The motel had plastic furniture in the lobby, and “Jesus loves you,” graffitied on the condom machine in the public restroom.
How do you know when it’s done? I admit the children
were wrecked but the sad man gave me reasons to remain—
the sex was sex, his blows weren’t all that harsh and he never
shot at me but once. It’s a gift, I guess, to know how to leave,
I keep my little principality tidy. Like Genghis Kahn’s nuns, I am a part of a war nation, having no real land or location, taking pain out in ever widening circles. Shouldn’t I travel as the hordes did, living off the conquered, carrying only my broom, a war nation against my own. It doesn’t take much really. You only have to be hungry and willing to do what it takes to get fed.