Skim the land on the horizontal. Do not shut your eyes. Make sharp and occasional vertical turns as to observe higher ground: locate the houses you didn’t expect, the neighbor walking, the balding tip of a fir tree, headlights drawing near, the snow plow backing out, all the faraways, and a wayfarer, advancing towards your story. Sometimes you will notice summer barbecue grills waiting out the season, leg deep in snow. A good crop of seasonal pickings: a whitened town steeple and a cheery clock face and an unfrozen patch of military grey river where the ducks have come out to play. Life materializes in the signage. Buck Scientific. American Analytical Instruments. It’s not so far from the luncheonette deli. But from the horizontal alone I can’t give you directions. Keep looking.

Trees trunk themselves deep in ice, chilled to the center. Shivering sentries to the past. They know where hawks fly, can spot them from an age away before any hawk spots them. They never riot. Look out the window. Note those invasive reeds—non-native phragmites—which shouldn’t be in this part of the land, now fully occupant. See how the weeds dig into the wetlands. Rock stubborn. Not to worry. These are the ones you want to round up, dislodge, and return home. These are the ones you can hold for deportation as long as you like. Watch them wither. No-one’s heart broken, no-one’s sense of beauty distressed, no democratic principles shaken to the core.


Rosemary Jones is an Australian living in the U.S. whose work has appeared in literary magazines such as Denver Quarterly, Sonora Review, Gargoyle, Brilliant Flash, Hoot, Creative Nonfiction, Sweet, Cherry Tree, and Cimarron Review. In 2015 she was awarded Alligator Juniper's national prize for nonfiction. She teaches and tutors writing at Yale.