There is a town at the edge of things where the women hold in their screams. Previous generations died young. High blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, cancer. The women watched their mothers and grandmothers and aunts all fall into graves where no one would see them again, not even in dreams. Their childhoods were marked by the long limousine march of funeral after funeral. They decided things would be different for them and adjusted accordingly. The women know what’s expected of them. Smiles that reach their eyes, deference, laughing at unfunny jokes, starving their bodies and ambition until they’re small enough that they threaten no one, their hair long and eye-catching so no one notices the bared-teethed fury flashing across their faces. They can do that. For the most part. The women who can’t, leave. But the women who stay have barometers in their bodies, lodged in their guts so they can judge just how close to exploding they are. When they feel the shaking, when their bodies feel like empty vessels except for their repressed screams, they make an excuse and bolt to the outskirts of town. In an abandoned field they reclaim the bodies they’d disassociated from. They raise their backs, clench their fists and unleash what’s built up inside them. Holy expressions of hell. High-pitched, low-pitched, louder than anyone could’ve expected their compact bodies could project. Wordless desolations. Cursed names. All the things they couldn’t say at home. The ones who can’t stay, whose skin itches with what can’t be scratched away, cut off their hair and throw it down where blood poppies grow later. They drive and drive and drive searching for a place where they don’t have to scream in a field. A place where they can be angry and imperfect and the world doesn’t fall apart because of it. In the meantime, they drive from town to town eating gas station mini powdered donuts, six to a package, and slurping energy drinks like a lifeline. Their mouths and fingers covered in white dust, their eyes on the road, always reaching for a place that doesn’t exist.