Karen Windus

—Roswell, NM

In the tarpaulin of dream, you’re in and then out. Later, you’re waking late. The porcelain sky all shot up with grackles and it’s 11 am. The swamp cooler ticks in the window where the motel curtains stay pulled against the clatter cart of the maid. Outside, the land’s hide stretches hard under a washed out sky. You get the feeling the grass fires are just waiting. Somewhere, lightning hovers in an unknown thought, ready to strike. A few billboards up the road, after the huevos rancheros, you pull off at the UFO Museum. The road moves under the heat. An afternoon with aliens seems good at this point. You’ve just visited your uncle who lives nearby. He sleeps at night hunting dogs in his mind. Guns everywhere, one under his pillow and the bullets he makes himself. His land: a vacuum of prairie and antelope and two miles of barbed wire fence. You look at the hairless bodies in the glass cases and feel the eyes on you from the security guard. Maybe it’s the way you look. Or the bad check you wrote last night for the room. Still, there are these grasslands. They swell and wave and the dusky sky slices them right where they crest. When you leave, you see the maps of alien worlds and think of how someone plotted them. And then about your temporary home two hundred miles away and the one road that gets you back.

Karen Windus has lived a rather peripatetic existence. She now resides in San Francisco, CA after having studied and taught writing at the University of Massachusetts. She enjoys being an engineer and previous to that worked as a professional pilot and gang youth counselor. She fled the Great Recession by settling in Seattle where she improved her poker game immensely. She has additionally lived in NYC, Eugene, OR, St. Louis (east and west) and Albuquerque, NM.


  1. Kathleen Chaffin says

    I liked this very much, with one small nit: the sky is described three times within nine lines (porcelain/washed out) and then again near the end (dusky). I realize the sky’s immensity and changing nature are integral parts here, but think that particular repetition could use some tweaking.

What do you think?