memories like jacks across the floor
— a poem by Justin Hyde

that evening
after chemo
her headache came.

i drove us
through the
eastern iowa hills

her head
in my lap,
hot with fever,
mumbling fever dreams.

i drove
up and down gravel roads,
dead ends,
farmers' driveways,
almost into the
black lip of a lake.

the low gas light
we barely limped into williamsburg
to refuel.

i drove
and drove
until my back
locked up

the only prayer
to release it

was reciting the alphabet
backward over
and over

until a purple sun
up from the rolling east
baked her out of the fever dream.

she peed
behind a barn

and kissed my shoulder

with cracked
red lips.

Justin Hyde is a poet and Literary Editor for The Commonline Journal. He is the former Poetry Editor of Thieves Jargon and the author of the chapbooks Down Where the Hummingbird Goes to Die (2008) and Another Casualty at the 34th St. Bus Stop (2009). His last collection of poems is An Elephant Hole (2014, Interior Noise Press). He lives in Iowa and works with criminals.