In the Bitterroot

The sky is red
behind the hills,
like blood pressing
through gauze –

I can feel it still.

I remember slipping
from the saddle,
the stirrup held on
and I went crashing
into the field.

Scraped and bleeding,
I tried to rise,
but my dark cloud-lifting
was done by
the blue rumbling
in your eyes.

In the Bitterroot,
we rode hard,
and let our sighs
echo into the huge
Montana night.

Your lips tasted like flint,
a red hot,
steam-hissing engine
that brought more pain
to this

ever-reddening bliss.

In the Bitterroot,
I met my end,
killed by
the six-gun tricks
of your midnight

shotgun kiss.

©️ 2019.

I’ve never ridden a horse in Montana, but I feel like I probably should now.

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