Nes should start with retelling
the events of the day when she left home.
Seven years is not a long stretch for a competent memory.
At least perhaps explicit memory:
where the sun was in the sky,
(it’s always hot on the Reservation),
who was with you,
(family, perhaps, but when did blood truly define family)
why you left.
That last one is the easiest:
For Nes the sun was an old star.
Far too close,
setting too near the horizon.
That is what Nes remembers.
What drove her away.
The systemic degradation of imagined identity.
The future played out across the sand,
imagining the people around her,
old and baked brown, wrinkled around the eyes
from smiles that were plucked out from between the rocks
and the dirt.
But this place has beauty.
An expanse that extends far beyond any forest
(with their lush leaves and cool shade)
to the sky and the clear path the sun travels.
Nes could out stretch her arms,
look down her fingers
and touch the horizon,
unobstructed from east to west.
But, she left on a day when the sun was shining.
Because Nes was sure that being able to touch the horizon
was like seeing the end of your life.
Seeing the finish line before you even started.
Guessing the punch line before the joke was over.
We can’t say Nes found a better life,
because she would have to confess to have stopped looking.
But we can say she left,
seven years ago.