After leaving our son in the mountains, we drove together back to separate homes,
my ex-husband and I. Passed signs for caves. Caves inside other caves,
a chain of holes beneath us, this road we drove once a vast sea. We passed
Antietam, too, and because I like to hear him explain things, I ask
what happened here. He knew I would forget, just like the Battle of Midway
that he explained to me every single time I walked into his favorite movie.
This man who bought me an expensive watch, right after I lost
an expensive watch. I see now how this was love. We left our son behind,
which is also love, we tell ourselves. I don’t feel so good, was the last thing
our son said. My ex is laying out Civil War tactics and I’m thinking, where
are the cows. On the way down, all these cows and now an ocean of fog.
They had to be somewhere. I waited
for a black head to pierce the whiteness as confirmation, like a sudden musket
flash. Waited. They lost all sense of reality, my ex went on, what with
the spew of guns and horseguts, roar of bodies torn. Couldn’t tell
enemy from brother. The cornfield was a vast altar, boys buried
where they fell. I realized it had been dark for some time and we had stopped
speaking. Still so far from our homes, this car a disappearing light. Someone
turned on the radio and we listened to comedy, the punchlines coming rapid-fire,
words caustic and crude. Drove and drove for hours, our laughing relentless.