I trudge beside my few belongings,
cast-iron pots, china, clothing,
tucked in my wheeled home,
straining oxen yoked as one.
Wet, cold, hungry, determined as
sedge grasses cut my cotton skirt and
seeds fill damp, thin leather shoes,
not made for a thousand mile march.
Sun-warmed sandstone beckons and threatens.
Metal encircled wheels carve the grey-pink surface,
paring my heart while those buried in the path sleep
in graves trampled deep to keep out wolves.
Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho to Oregon,
my home lurches, wobbles, bounces,
pitches riders off the seat,
sloshes water in oak barrels.
The four beasts stagger down the ruts
and lean toward their new home.
We descend to a green river bottom
and carve immortality on the cliff face.