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MONTANA

On the high foothill behind our barn
Up among the bullpine with the eagles and the deer
A horseman sits and stares into Montana

That close, that far, the Sweet Grass Hills defy
our Medicine Line. How we gave too much defines us still
with blinkered transits, colonized minds

Like the English Lord, who called Alaska
” A land of ice and snow, where the trout
will not rise to the fly!”
So Britain, and Canada
missed the chance to annex paradise

Southward now, Montana rises in our sky
Chief Mountain rules our eyes
The wind came out of Waterton
Montana zephyr, blew the survey’s tents away
exotic in its violence, like the sea

Montana clouds will send us snow
to break over Milk River
to trace these ridges of the Livingstone

The rider is a writer, looking for a line
He dreamt Montana was a frozen Mexico
Somewhere north of Robert Creely
Somewhere south of Tom McGuane

But now they shake their lariats
around antarctic sun

Count calves, count coup on old King Winter

We are the brothers that went away
who drew a line and left it for a dare

Rewrite those lost hills with your eyes
and they’ll draw near, a little near
Horseman, Albertan
sitting in Montana snow

(They send their snow to Canada…)

It’s spring: the slate blue heron comes
on pterdactylian wings
Are you still here, old equine statuary?

Can’t you see the famous antelope
have come back to your hills?

Is it hate, or is it love that keeps you here,
Staring into fabulous Montana
A disappointed god among the deer

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