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Archive for October, 2016

Cloudsimg_9210
engulf
the Madison range,
its
huge
mass
solid
swallowed
fitfully
in early dawn
jagged
crags
struggle
for breath.

Hoar frost
coats
brittle
sage,
dry grasses
stiffen
sharp
blades
of pain,
witnesses
to the birthing
of a winter day
all too soon
deer
lift
heavy heads
knowing
sounds
of death,
tails
pointing
toward
safety
in the hills
counting
heartbeats
between
rifle shots.

Empty
valleys
not an antelope
elk
jackrabbit,
or sage hen –
only the wary raven,
and loud magpie remain.

Walks are dull
all too calm:
dogs beating
the sage,
rounding pine
and naked aspen
tails high
in pathetic
expectation
and constant desire.

This is the quiet time,
the shift between
light
and dark.
Soon the valley
will shudder
under mounds
of snow
blinding
bright
light
for miles
of white,
creatures
burrowed deep
others
herded in the lowlands,
nose to tail
for warmth.

When the leaves
have all fallen
and the river
slows it mighty flow,
men know:
now is the time
to gather wood,
clean the chimney
and stock the whiskey.
They know,
the long nights
will come
as sure
as the moon
rises
over the ridge
full
of promise
and desire
for the open road ,
mad with
the drone of
the long winter silence.

In the distance stands
what’s left
of a homestead                                   img_9170

broken roof
its walls
sunken
into remnants
of rotting wood
dirt floor
covered with owl pellets
but the doorway
still announces
shelter.

I walk the 2 miles
distance every year
dogs in tow,
to bear witness
hearing
voices
in the summer wind
of those
who lost
their souls
and beat
their fists
against the odds:
this is a harsh land,
demanding
mistress:
she ravages
all but the wildest
most stubborn fools.

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