Two Poems

Burning the Ditches

OVER BETWEEN DILLON and Butte in the valley near Melrose they’re burning out the ditches on a moist, sad morning when my simpleminded heart aches for another life. Why can’t I make a living trout fishing? The same question I posed sixty years ago to my father. I got drunk last night, an act now limited to about twice a year. It was the olive-skinned barmaid Nicole who set me off as if the dead filaments of my hormones had begun to twitch and wiggle again. In the morning I walk a canyon two-track and hear a canyon wren for the first time outside of Arizona. Up the mountainside I see the long slender lines of the billowing smoke from the ditch fires, confused because the wren song is drawing me south to my winter life on the Mexican border.

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