I moved to Monterey in search of a fast
assault of images like in the fun spaghetti westerns
that my parents watched as children of the cold
war. saloons instead of bunkers, communism
without tomahawks, gunshots always as wide
and red as sparrow eyes.
on the ranch, I met a lone woman from Nebraska.
she had traveled twenty-six hours to watch
cannery row colts all night, waving back
and forth against the wooden posts that still needed
to be tied with fresh barbed wire. she talked
about her addiction to jack and gin, she said
it’s like holding back a team of horses.
she said, some of them you can break and some
you just can’t. one night, I found the woman
from Nebraska dead
crawled into her rented truck, watched her irises grow
with the sunrise. I looked her sparrow in the eye
and cried when the horses flew home like bullets
LILLIAN SICKLER is a Chinese-American poet, writer, and doula who recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Comparative Literature. Her work can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Ghost City Press, Vagabond City, Asterism, and Noble / Gas Quarterly, among others. She has an orange cat named Laika and a rambunctious beta fish named Sundae. Follow Lillian on Twitter.