Feature image by Moisés Mahiques. “no one was living here (1)”, Pencil, ink and acrylic on paper, 2011.


For Judy—whose parents followed the harvest

Gin means you start down south and diesel
dye your stripper, that International Harvester,
through barbed wire, the only thing between

Amarillo and the Northern Lights (besides all
those cans of Keystone Light stacked up into
a piss beer altar at the Black Diamond). Where

roughnecks are discounted and truckers are
welcome to squeeze as many men into a single
sleeper as there are naked ladies on mud

flaps. Gin means that every new atmosphere tastes
like the last turn in the white horizon that was
yellow in April and May. But under the winter

moon she’ll be naked. That is, if the combines don’t
heat up too much. Sometimes metal sparks
diesel and diesel sparks cotton and you

heard that in the Bible Armageddon is a field
on fire. Melting holes in your only pair of steel
toed boots, but is just a lit matchstick for a second

when seen from the interstate. The same as Agent
Orange. Breath dusted through a blanket not made
in America, where temporary people work

twelve on and sleep twelve off, on the back
room floor. Fingers taped. Blisters, bones
exposed so you can drive again tomorrow.

Abigail Carl-Klassen

Abigail Carl-Klassen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Huizache, Post Road, Geez, Rhubarb, The Center for Mennonite Writing Journal, Rio Grande Review, and BorderSenses, among others, and is anthologized in New Border Voices (Texas A&M University Press). She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and lives with her husband Jonathan.