Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Driving Steers To Fairfield

The first bird I recognized for sure was a buzzard—5 finger spread
at the end of each wing.
From my tropical childhood I have a recurring underwater vision:
my parents toasting, hoisting Yale Cocktails, blue drinks, but doesn’t every kid
believe her parents, strange as Aquaman, can’t possibly be
her parents? In and out of nightmares—drunks  

are more than a disappointment and fall is the right season for them. 
October: mistakes big as billboards scrape across town
like the keen edge of a rainstorm, lightning leading, soaking everything
to gray.  By Halloween
the only green left is impossible whiskery rye
struggling against what’s left of the Bermuda, while leaves  

rutch up to the summer stumps.  To my left and behind
at dinner, a table of women just back from the Fairfield. sale
The most resilient has a car under the carport, a pickup
out back of the house.  And I bet I’m not
the only wife to ask who that pickup belongs to.
She tosses back a tequila and faces down  

the three flag men having a bourbon across the aisle,
reckoning the perfidy of women X 3.  The tables
endure each other like first cousins, continue to chew.
I know a handful of bird names by now. 
I go away every fall. I dream from the viewpoint of a raven.  
I don’t believe in any different way of living. 



(photo by Kristen Mullins)