English: Oyamada train station in Hanamaki, Iw...

The Ozark Bathhouse, along Hot Springs' famed ...

She slipped off her wedding dress,
tossed aside her engagement ring,
headed south in a Mustang
to the city of Hot Springs.

She checked into the cabin
last night at nearly ten,
close to the magnificent
Garden of the Pine Wind.

She had waited at the altar
for a groom who never showed.
Her tears barely slacked enough
for her to see the road.

Yet, she determined she would
make the best of this.
She swiped her hand across her lips
and wiped away his kiss.

She cried herself to sleep
in the room for only one–
this morning saw the sunshine
in a new day just begun.

Today, she’ll see the springs
where Native Americans ceased
many battles by the mystic waters
and reconciled in peace.

She’ll wonder about De Soto
who also stopped to drink
the warm and healing waters
filled to his canteen’s brink.

She’ll bet most of her money
on thoroughbreds at the track
and forget she ever knew
that handsome Bobby Jack.

Although her heart is breaking,
she’ll never let him know.
She’ll light her own peace pipe
down on Bathhouse Row.

She’ll board a plane
as soon as it is night.
She’ll cry herself to sleep
on an international flight.

And if Bobby tries to find her,
she knows he never can
there in Hot Springs’ Sister City,
Hanamaki, Japan.
© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

A Native American peace pipe. From an exhibiti...