And the valley stretches out. And the sun—
sleeping head in hands—somewhere at the end.
And dogs chase deer through flame.
The valley is a dead lover, brought home.
flag iris cars rising from the river
The sun, the embalming sun.
If dogs can be owned, they belong to homeward
people, tracing the mountain with fitful breathing.
a brother in the flesh, a brother on the mountain
The mountains are a scarred horse, chewing its reins
—woven fog. Hipbones, old wings left in barns. The factory
at the end of the valley
works through the night while the men go
home. Tonight, we’ll go as far as we go—
if a little farther. Tonight,
hold the valley to your bandaged chest. The sun
is a tackman, have him hoist her to you. To the swell.
The valley ends in a saddle above the lighted
town. Barking. Traffic. Abandoned ocean. Trail.
There's not much to say about this one other than it's a product of my time in Butte, Montana, and the tortured twistings of my ill-fated relationship with an older-mentor-turned-lover.
I was desperate for those Western myths. I was fascinated by the idea of Missoula's off-branching valleys once being inland seas. I wanted to keep going until I disappeared and wasn't sure how brave I really was.
Originally published, in slightly different format, in Interim.