I was drifting off to sleep when I heard the whistle of a train going through Nebraska City. More than a hundred trains per day go through the small town a couple of hours away from here where Mr. Ex's mother lives and I have 32 years of memories of visiting her there. A few days each visit...that's 9,600 or so train whistles and I can't hear that sound without thinking of Mr. Ex--and train whistles are inherently a sad sound. When I heard the whistle tonight, a question for him formed on my lips. Are you happy? I asked him as I lay in bed here alone-- and if this were a few months ago I would have emailed this question directly to him. And then I would have gotten in a bad kind of groove and emailed him 50 more questions. But I don't do that anymore. I don't need to because I'm taking Mr. Ex's homeland for my own. These brown branches are mine, the dirty snow, and the last of the berries hanging from the trees. This is where we loved each other, where one of our daughters was conceived, and I claim each dry stalk of cut bean and grain as mine. I claim the rivers and the wind, his brother, his brother’s wife and his mother and everyone else in his family. I claim the trains and their lonesome whistles, the Willa-Cather-beauty of this state and every word I write here as mine alone.