Mistress of the plantation, dressed in white—the color of peace and prosperity. She took unwavering steps toward the river. Children sang as she sank below the calm water. Baptized with a Christian name, she adopted enlightened ways, lived in a two-story brick house, set her table with silver and china, dressed in satin and silk. She sent word to her Cherokee kin, “My heart is changed. I now live fully within a new world.” But life turned upside down when soldiers came. Without warning, her family, and all the families of her people, were forced from their homes and marched away with only bare essentials—blankets, cooking pots, and scant food. Left behind, the gown flutters in a white man’s tall green corn.

Mary Whiteside (with Alan Whiteside) grew up in the Ohio foothills of the Appalachians, but now calls the Texas prairie home. Never without a notebook in her backpack, she enjoys writing about rural areas, especially in the southern and western United States. The starting points for her fiction are often historical locations she visits with her husband, Alan, a photographer. A page from her journal was included in Keeping Time: 150 Years of Journal Writing. Her writing has been published in Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, and Forces Literary Journal.