Small Countries

Small Countries

by James Galvin

In defense of whatever happens next, the navy of flat-bottomed pop-
corn clouds steams over like they are floating down a river we're un-
der. To the west, red cliffs, more pasture, the blue Medicine Bow with
stretchmarked snowfields, quartzite faces like sunny bone. I'm worried
about Lyle getting back from town with his oxygen, but then I see him
through binoculars turn the Studebaker, antlike, off the county road
and up the four-mile grade, so small down there that I want to imagine
his hands on the wheel, still strong, his creased blue jeans and high-
top shoes I know he wears to town. He turns off the road on a small
knoll about halfway up and stops the truck, facing the mountains. He
still looks small against so much space, but I can see his left arm and
shoulder and the brim of his hat lowered as he lights a smoke and
looks off toward the mountains, and small countries of light and dark
rush across the prairie towards him and over him.

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