Jane Varley

The Women of Iowa

I am the descendent
of unhappy women.
Grandmother, in my dreams,
urges me to leave.

I think they hated men,
some of them,
who did not love the fields
or the men of the fields.
In the clutches of the farm,
my grandmother lived
a solitary life, her brothers
getting drunk and whipping
horses in the yard.
My grandfather left
to trade goods up north.
She looked at me and saw
the future, fingering the picture books
and pointing out the maps.

I am leaving, Grandmother,
pray for me. I have arranged
to have my own truck
and a dog as my protector.
I can pay my own way.
Watch me drive the open spaces.


The 2River View, 4_1 (Fall 1999)