Wood squelched against wood, planed from eastern forests, alien to this land, under the burden of two childless pioneers, Ikka and Anders, the clamor of their possessions, Xena, the nanny goat, and a few anonymous hens. The mob of grasses heard the nervous squeal of the eastern wood and mocked the wagon, had done so since they crossed the Missouri, for its rigidity, its helplessness before the wolf tornado or the weeping of the ghost creek women. And though some grasses were bent beneath the heavy wheels, they rolled back out of the dirt like wrestlers so that before her the wagon saw nothing by nettling grasses and behind more of the same and the trees were few and crooked and small and soft and stared uncomprehendingly at the fine tight grain of the hardwood. The grasses said turn back, this land eats fine lumber like you, whether thunderbird, or Waziya cold, or mildew swarms, or the fires that keep we grasses, we perfect grasses, in fine shine and trim, some grandeur will strike you down and you will die here abandoned, shabby and ill-used. For our ancestors were seaweed and kelp; we know ancient secrets and have made treaties with every frightening thing and live in subterranean cities rich beyond compare. Our grub worms are spun of opal and emerald. Even now you can feel the pull of our cities, dragging you under, cell by cell, where you will surrender your singularity–arrogant once-tree–and become the flesh of grasses. The wagon, who can blame her, groaned and shivered, but was not entirely cowed, for she carried within her belly an iron vengeance, wait until you see the plow, bitch grasses, and feel it snap the spires of your root cities, upend and despoil them, for I will die and you will die but the plow and what it brings will not.