Winter 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2012 |

Estray

Hard to think such hot open range, some days, was prison. The biggest difference from inside was the sun, that sun—endlessly burning ears and necks and deepening brow lines. Also the voltaic air, air like tonic, and the long, empty, endless stretches. Out here Emmett felt like a loosened molecule without boundary. Another difference was the nature of Emmett's outdoor work, which offered unobstructed views of rocky ridgelines presiding over the nearby facility. The enormity of the mountains and sky and desert apron—all of it—made him startle awake some mornings believing in the possibility of God. Such bigness taunted him, terrified him, hurt his bones, vibrated his muscles and tendons, made him feel more a man, and not a man, and left him wondering what, anymore, being a man in the world meant. Everything was stilled in the moments before, each man's head haloed by noontime sun. The Judas mare, named Judy by the warden's boys, as an insider's joke, stood patient and unspoo

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By Don Waters

Hard to think such hot open range, some days, was prison. The biggest difference from inside was the sun, that sun—endlessly burning ears and necks and deepening brow lines. Also […]

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