On a dirt road off 183 a distant car trails dust. Watching it get closer is like watching the opening of a movie and I almost expect to see credits rolling across the blue. The car pulls to a halt beside me. In the front seats the two Unruh brothers – they immediately tell me their names – wear Sunday suits while their bibles sit in the rear. The faces of the brothers are young, handsome and friendly. They tell me they are Mennonites and are on their way to church. They are mildly curious about the woman standing on the edge of their land, but their curiosity distils into one single question when they see the plates on the White Bird. ‘Is there wheat in Alabama?’ one asks.

‘Cotton, cattle and peanuts,’ I reply, grateful not to disgrace myself as an agricultural ignoramus. They give me a smile and go on their way. I stand and listen to the silence that descends on the heartland once more.

Dusty Road, Kansas

Copyright  Alice Starmore
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