Turtle Mountain

A Stranger, Dionysos, early morning, lower reaches of the mountain, speaks

The first time I worked through here
–see how little I knew– first gorge
West of the Livingstone Range, I was calling
Into badger holes, poking sticks down the throats
For Irish monks.
Pitted, pine snow a vinegary bulge against wet rock
At 5,000 feet, burnt trees to the top,
Turtle Mountain, from Lost Creek Fire, sun
A fingernail scrape in bachelor kettle aluminum,
And through it, the mountain’s pig neck and back
Appeared to move.
Now rain bloom bear-sways up
The blade of the north hump.
Dendrites – they lived in trees, another crew
Rode bulls.
Each would light candles below the tilting night of soil.
Sheep came down from the snowline.
The mountain, half of it fell away, 1903,
Seventy killed in the valley,
Northeast face, a diamond mark sickening between its horns.
The women stayed back
On the Pike Lake acreages, living out of converted grain bins,
Herding a common drawer of knives.
I came through here, Blackfoot country,
And took it up, the bad-angled company of dead people,
My ear slipped in and took the teat
In the bedroom of glaciers, it was looking for the Angel, the Twin.

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