HAWKINSVILLE, WYOMING—KING of nowhere—civilization’s intrusion into mesquite, cacti, sand, and rattlesnakes. I grew up here, never thought I’d return, yet here I am. I stretch out my legs, wriggle my prison-issue shoes to release the crimp on my heels, peer out the bus window at a man on the sidewalk. Sunlight bounces off a wine bottle—MD 20/20—cheap, nasty, buzz guaranteed. Between the man’s feet, a dog licks at a brown puddle. Vomit, I assume.
I make my way to the front and down the steps. The feed store butts up to the terminal, and the air smells musty as a compost pile. A settled-in...