EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS / Hornitos, California for Kevin Sometimes I took the drive alone, past the burned flour and woolen mUls near Lake McSwain. In the summer watch the sky for fire planes banking the blackened foothiUs smoulder the ranch women of Agua Fría, Indian Gulch, out of Fresno, away from the high Sierras. Days after the grass fires have gone out, near the road's edge. so close to ranch houses, where women still I was amazed by the burnline, Sometimes, hung wet bedding on the clotheslines. hugging my car around abrupt bends, the window down, the sweet, burnt wind whipping my hair, I wanted to be a ranch woman, leaning her face against the veranda screen, the bright unstoppable fire, a fermata, holding her Ufe, kindling the one memory that flares briefly for her then: a late night kitchen, a yeUow table she sits at with spiced tea, the dark rain beating at the window pane. Is that all she can wish for, rain? She watches the red fire curl over the berm of the trenches, her husband's last attempt to stop the flames. Her baby wakes now in its bassinet. And this can't happen.
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1992