You are in the backseat because you were
the instigator. You scratched and clawed a man
when he tried to take the wheel. Yes, I know
it was your wheel. You owned that ride, it was yours
to drive. I understand you like to get high.
I understand you are pretty; lithe. This road trip
has lasted a very long time. I feel stuck
when I spend too much time with my wife.
I tell her to shower so the imbalance of power
gets restored. There’s more: You seem anxious.
Agitation in my presence is common and the core
issue is your failing to relax. There should be a tonic
to prevent these histrionics and your man is just
responding to your tears and your rawness,
let’s be honest. You’re not in trouble, yet, ok
so listen to my calming tone and let the rush of blue
uniform wash over your pale fragility. Protective
glass and shield exist for a reason between you
and me. You are in the backseat. Instigator.
Activist. Loud-mouth. Betrayer. Your man
will be rewarded with a soft bed, in a room meant
for victims, of which you are certainly not; yet.
You can sleep in your car. You want me to remind
him to keep the phone charged? What if, instead,
I tell him you said to get some rest, and that you
will see him tomorrow and that you love him?
I’ll take your silence as confirmation and permission—
I’ll speak for you and say how much you love him.
You love him, I’ll tell him.
You love him, ok?

Women on Horseback

Finally, they arrive—
Women on horseback.
You can stop wondering why
or asking, where is the calvary.

They seek and are determined to find
Things such as steel oil drums in a field
A barrel-shaped vessel used to conceal
whatever men wished burned in darkness.

It isn’t real, this landscape.
Much like a painting or a façade
It stretches blandly, wheat of golden rods
that blind the eye.

These pillars are the searchers, though;
They cannot be denied. They ride and hump—
Rebels sublime—they buck, and on-trend
with the times they glide

Until the clock changes its face
And dusk settles across pasture and grime;
Until every last iris bleeds inside
while vision funnels and cones into fate.

While hourglass figures pitch forth and fight
With signs and a lantern, ignoring exhaust;
The absent and buried are dragged toward the light
to save every loss from being for naught.

Gillian Thomas is a Washington DC-area writer and poet. A graduate of New York City’s Hunter College, Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in English and theater before first being published in the journal The Iconoclast. She currently writes from home, alongside her 10-year-old son, math professor husband, and a barking Miniature Schnauzer. Thomas’ work has also been featured in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Gargoyle issue #73, Ligeia Magazine, Pembroke Magazine, Topical, Spry, JMWW journal, Grand Little Things, and more.