Monthly Archives: June 2017

Long Western Sun

morel mushrooms are underground
grief folded in long bolts
the women the shawled lanterns carry digging sticks
their caresses walk behind them
leaving albumin circles

behind in winter camp with mitered eyes
the children die like uncles and slaves
their cries hold bruised roses
in paper thin wonder
they are whelks, tiny mussel feet
reaching below the waterline
dragging the clouds over their arms

tire tracks cross the North Dakota badlands
dragging a harp we can no longer carry
I watch from the midlands
somewhere next door to behind and away
a chinook wind melts the snow
in the box canyons
wanting nothing becoming near

christening a hand a tendon
in the small wooden church on the ridge
after the rinsing the wheezing
the organ sounds like tin fish
swimming under the river bank
the leaves of the longest branches
the photons their crossed swords
the thousand watt radio station in Billings
making a mist of falling wheat prices

it is seen in the dry bunches
marooned along the highway
the bystanders torpid as warm tar
from a night of drinking in tight heat boxes
giving each other pieces of warm weather
draining the trees
it is more visible
now that the county road workers are gone
the way they tilt away from your eyes
it comes in bursts
more bitter more sweet more gone now
the might and the wasn’t
the strings are drawn taut
in the long annealing sun
in the slanted light leaving

Silver Mine

they have reopened
the old silver mine
at Indian Falls
and set a long-horned Sybil
to stand guard

the lone cafe where
everyone wheezes
over braille cakes
the three white
monarch bars

the nitrogen mallard eyes
peering out from
the squat box houses
along the cliff

the hotel with the miners drill
mounted on the lawn–
a quilted silence like a
a poison sofa

Belonging

a lamprey
under the waterfall
grips the stone
with its mouth of all eyes
shadows making new rocks

how hard it is to climb
to the top of the water tank!
the steel ladder pulling
a ground skirl of smoke below
an impaling cushion

a wind farm walks over the horizon
grinding and scissoring
the close-cropped land
with its dry sunken creek veins

a moon the color of a calf’s ear
the long harrowed fall
as close as your thigh bone