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When summer's slumber gives way

to a first prick of autumn breeze, I'm always carried to the hunt—

The click of shotguns and earthy smell of mink-oiled boots, dogs clattering in thick tack and my orange vest bulging brash shells,

Mom's toffee, and still-warm pheasants.

Montana is mythology to me,

drums of eternity throbbing out

stories above mountains, a big sky

full of reminders. Antelope move

like caramel wind over the prairies,

hooves grappling like a prayer over

the rugged ridges of the world.

Air perfumed by campfire smoke drugs me like some incense of violins

long forgotten from my early manhood

when love flared virgin in my heart and I had no idea what it was: some emotion

of reddish clouds electrifying the horizon,

a whiskey moon dangling over buttes like a girl's pearl earring.

In this season the river bottom trees are shorn of leaves and axed by light into shadow and the insistent generosity of a star angling through harvest atmosphere.

A sphere of silence grows as fractal branches

elevate in circling wonder, a coherence of worship behind all hymns.

I know so much less these days, and am so much more peaceful. What I know I know, and much of it I learned without knowing, hunting myself

under ashen autumn skies, gun in hand

and seeds of a love inside shooting

backward into song.


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