She dived off of a gritty white diving board into a clean rank pool of sleep. Sleep squeezed at her brain. Held her down and she was happy to be held. Sleep slipped tightly along the sides of her body and held her down like the long underwater swim from the place she broke the surface all the way to the shallow end, the other end of the pool. Sleep held her without with out thought and without breath and she was happy to be held. She dreamt of driving in the winter, in the country. She felt old like the hills she drove through. She felt cold like the snow. She ached for the barns she saw, for their practicality warped into a more fluid architecture by age and wind and wear. Nothing more vulnerable than winter sleep and the falling down of walls. Her heart sank at the fallen roofs, her skin crawled at the curling shingles, her breath caught at the sound of the wind in the manger. She wished she was a long haired, long horned steer. She wished she lived in a stone house. Stone as gray as the bones of a barn and as old as the hills and as cold as ice. In the corn fields, razor straight lines of stubbly, shorn stalks stuck up rakish from the snow. She touched her cheek in her sleep. Her back was bent like her elbows. Her elbows were bent like the pipes jumping out of the bulbous plaster of her walls, bent to turn the corner of a door, bent to hold a pillow to her head.

J.R.Carpenter