Place Where You Live:

Saltese Flats, Washington

Saltese Flats, Washington


Caroline Kervin

Word count 347


Saltese Flats, Washington



Vast grasslands, etched by forest, undulate in rolling waves. Mica Peak towers.

Strong winds bend cattails on the lake. A leaf falls; small ripples expand.

Wetlands drain into the Spokane River where in 1858, eight-hundred Palouse

horses were massacred by Colonel Wright, spiritually devastating native people. Time does

not heal wounds that resonate from old bones in the sand.

A Screech Owl pierces the night; luminous clouds drift. The moon glides between

them. Damp rushes exhale ghosts: fog floods the valley floor in a gray shroud of


The sun rises: a lasp wisp of mist, memories disappear, lifted by wind and carried

back in time.

White swans bank against the dark mountain, a flash of sunlight on wings. They

run on water and coast to a stop. Graceful wings furl. Curled necks seek

reflections and float by a blue silhouette. A heron poised on one leg, sharp eyes


A hatchling turtle paddles down the road. I plunk it in a puddle. Water bugs skate

over bubbles. Last summer, I discovered a hard carapace crushed and left to die. A

shattered under belly of brilliant reds and yellows. Thirty years, cancelled.

Colonel Wright’s legacy prowls the valley.

A large gathering of male deer captures attention. Antlered sculptures promenade.

Massive five-point racks gently joust a two-point challenger. They lower their heads to


Rifles are loaded, horses saddled up; engines roar: stopped by my implacable will.

This place is my home because I followed brittle shards in a frozen track.

Footprints filled with ice revealed a decapitated pregnant- doe. Half buried in

snow, shrink-wrapped flesh peeled from bristled bone. A fragile skeleton of an

unborn fawn lay encased within a shell of ribs. I picked up a fragment. A tiny

jaw lined with calcium seeds, milk teeth scattered by predators. I replaced

it inside her vanished heart.

Frost bit the tips of my fingers, liquid grief melted snow. I stay because screams

of terrified horses ride the winds of time and are soothed by my