Sometimes she wrote automatically, cursively with dime store pencils in notepads filled with lined paper, margined and the colour of jaundice. Other times she wrote with sicks, dissident in the dirt, in symbols with charcoal on the walls of caves or on standing stone.
Now she sat in the dark (there was a small fire), past midnight within the irregular hiss off the nearby highway, in the sage next to her shelter, where she’d always written, or hadn’t, depending on what came in out of the desert, but the words had left her, with only their absence to prove their parting.
A ferry—its deck of verbs and nouns—had taken them across a cattailed river, and she had rolled up her jeans, stepped into the cloudy current, and watched them on the other side, some chatting quietly, cliquey in subordinate clauses, no longer on the breath of muses.
The muses. Drifters, grifters, dreadful friends, changeable with no destination in mind, leaving her kitchen a mess when they wandered in from the roadside, painting their red mark on her door. Stingy pockets, full of gravity and plot, able to bend candlelight over the page, able to make a pen suffer ink. She was light enough for one to carry.
Carry me, she whispered and waited. The fire snapped, dawn beginning early, voiceless and forever.