I walked three miles to find
somewhere to bathe—a quarry pond
so drenched in dust that I had to ruin
my Cheyenne shirt straining water
clear enough to wash the boxcar
out of my skin. Moon the color
of a dollar bill, I practice the smile
of a man I met in Lincoln who offered me
the basement of his church. He didn’t
coax me or toss it like a coin at my feet.
It was not out of pride that I said no;
I was afraid that I would hear him out
about his God as an excuse to have someone
watch me haul up the cinders of prayers
and howl them onto the cool dark floor
the man would have swept for me.