Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 21

enlist, but I was drafted anyways, along with some four hundred others from Boone County, Illinois. Listening now, it's hard to believe that this is the same enemy who is indistinguishable from the villagers, who silently slithers up behind you in the jungle and disappears just as fast. This enemy sounds coordinated, uniformed, evil. This enemy is one we can fight with the righteousness our dads left to us, one our dads can be proud of us defeating

& even if we stayed, nothing would change, says Rachel, as though in response to the map. We know the stories of the people who stay: the stories of our mothers who sleep in their beds alone, growing wrinkles like a spreading curse. Women who spent the last decade buying canned corn and potassium supplements and waiting at home to see what their husbands and other women's husbands might decide to do with the world.

Repression is a costume we wear, sewn together with closed lips and heeled shoes. It laces our mothers' blood and our own with a slowness and a hesitancy, an apology. It keeps us from lifting our arms too quickly or raising our voices too loud, running too fast, thinking too hard, shooting a gun or signing up for a war.

Rachel takes her marker and traces a route on I-70 West.

We should go to the coast, she says. And then down, where it's warm.

She itches her back on the corner of the window sill

& next to me, Rudy unwraps and then re-wraps his foot in gauze, then tries to stick his swollen foot into his boot. The wound oozes pus, and it reeks,

Kelly Kiehl | 21