First came men with stakes and measures, next the hole-diggers, then the pole-setters, last of all the wire party. Ox-wagons, heavy with felled trees, shook the dust from the earth. The workers had such a thirst she feared they’d drain the well. Her silent husband counted the bills they paid him into the strongbox under the bed. A young Irishman showed her the tiny machine at the head of the line. It clicked like a locust, devouring words. They rumbled onward, straight, across the plains. She shaded her eyes until all she could see of them was a dot. Her husband flattened her, then, for talking to the Irishman. Now, while he harrows the fields, she leans against the pole, one hand on her swelling belly. She listens to the wind humming through the wire, imagines the words chattering up and down, the swarms of unseen people in cities faraway.
Sharon Telfer
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