If our time had a name, it would be Ruth. Remember when we passed the car on the one lane county road? Russet potato hatchback, man in grandfather hair, molasses dog hanging out of the window. We could barely hear their engine. There was a cardinal in the hickory and his color was Ruth and so was the season. And the labrador was drooling, panting Ruth Ruth Ruth. Why is it always, here and there, that I am talking about a dog? I swear, they are not mine. Ruth takes my poems from me–– look at their collars, see the little brass badges: RUTH. And the leaves, medallions falling. Ruth is the sound when everything about you is leaving. When the car passed, it made a noise like a door knock, or a carpenter smashing her tools, or the peeling of a potato. You could cut your hand on such a sound, see no blood. Altogether, it said its name and hushed it, the same time–– ruth.
Evan Nicholls has work appearing in Passages North, Maudlin House, THRUSH, Lost Balloon, and GASHER, among others. He is from Fauquier County, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @nicholls_evan.