When East Moves West, The Sun Stands Still
by Constance Brewer
When you married a rancher and moved to Wyoming,
your mother clutched her chest, contemplated a heart
attack and proclaimed to all who would listen, "My
daughter, she could have been the next Marge Piercy
or Maya Angelou but, no. She moved to Wyoming."
The neighbors tried to comfort your mother. They offered
condolences, as if you died, or married outside the faith.
In the kitchen, under the cover of clinking wine glasses,
and the running dishwasher they whispered to each other;
"Is Wyoming a state or a territory? Is it Canadian?"
"She lives on a ranch? I bet they don't have indoor plumbing."
"Do they have to ride horses to town to use the phone?"
"Her daughter might as well live in Africa. Or Afghanistan."
"If she visits us, will she have to get shots? I hear Wyoming
has hantavirus and West Nile and even the plague..."
For a nation comfortable with John Wayne movies, the concept
of actually living in a western is stranger than a moon walk.
For years, you wrote, and tried to convince your mother that:
- Wyoming is not the edge of the world.
- Not everyone owns a gun. Or a horse.
- You don't have to chop wood unless you want to.
- That good writing is a state of mind not a state in the Union.
But each time you board a plane and fly home to visit, your mother
beats her chest, smoothes her clothes, and styles her hair, all while
wailing loud enough for the neighbors to hear. "My poor baby.
She could have been a contender! Instead, she lives in godforsaken