Meg Wade

Ditch Tender



Say the headlights don’t shine

through the grain

field, tires

spun, say that she only clipped

the hay bale when she barreled

down the road. A life is still a life at eighty

miles an hour, so say

that the wheel turned, say you’ve seen her out there pitching

a fit, prick her bare feet black earth, say

she raised her hands in the air cracking

the band bigger than the radio.
Say she clambered out of it.

Say she became something else.

A better animal.


Say she’s not better off

dead than lost, eyes like black eggs, say you saw her rise

a pistol when she’s angry.


Say she won’t surrenderhere.


Say if she does, you won’tblame her.


MEG WADE is a former Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Creative Writing Institute. She has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and served as Assistant Editor for an anthology of contemporary, rural American poetry titled, Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press, 2014). You can find her work in the anthology, Read Womenas well as its companion piece, Gendered and Written (Locked Horn Press, 2014); other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in CutBank, Linebreak, Nashville ReviewBanango Street, and Whiskey Island, among others. She tweets at @tennessee_me, but lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee.