The dog was barking at nothing but the waning moon about to drop down from the winter sky into the snowfields that stretched away from either side of the rest stop.
We had started early in the still dark. So cold the snow squeaked in the driveway under the car wheels. The dog and I had gotten this far out of town on a country road I didn’t know the name of. Heading west.
He yanks me across the rest stop parking lot toward the field, still barking.
I remember everything: the photos, the arguments, the papers torn up and tossed. I let out a bark.
Oh, my dog Buddy, my dog now, you know, don’t you? You know.
Just find something, anything, and let go at it. We’ll pick the waning moon over snow on this dark morning.
Later, at a café, some miles on, I sip a paper cup of fresh coffee and wait for the pancakes to be put in the Styrofoam box. The dog sleeps on his bed in the car, bundled and patient in wool blankets.
I eat in the car, my parka over my shoulders like a cape.
I give a piece of bacon to the dog. Let’s go, Buddy. It’s almost light.
Each small town is a web of deserted winter Sunday streets. A train crosses tracks as we wait to leave one. A streak of orange and red lights.
The moon falls out of my line of vision in the windshield. The dog sleeps all the long road heading west. Prairie snow and a pale gray sky. All day to get there, Buddy. We have all day to get there.
– Copyright Kay Winter