Girl Western

Clayton, Idaho


I scale up the wolf-bones of the hill

where no one’s been, look out toward mine road,

pick-ups, blue river. (I’m only saying


what I see. Trying to be better.) I take

my body through paces, then do it all backward.

Go to town, shake down the man-poet for coins


and mine some femininity from the mountains:

or maybe I could just be a shadow

hopping over the tracks. No one’s trying


to be beautiful here. River guides’ eyes

hold the whole of it as they drink coffee

outside the café. What I’m saying


is that here newspapers fly on the wind.

I let it be a photograph

with no caption, story, end. The Western


hills buck up in rude tectonics, ready

to slip. You can sit and watch

the birds circle their tops,


read the sky’s every minute. You can wait

as earth’s curl takes the valley into darkness:

first the source of the river, then its mouth.