The needled air of the lodgepole.
Sting of pine at the base of your throat.
"A cold snap," he says. "Coming on."
Believing wasn't always hard.
The river forked in three: I knew
truth could go in different ways.
Corn was ripe when the tassels turned.
Late. Later still potatoes to be dug—
how far out, and how deep down,
I knew. Could slant the shovel right.
I'd use my hands now, claw deep
to better cup them, one by one,
as they let go their hold on earth.
This is the soil that I am from.
Those mountains—there, the Swan,
the Mission Range, and west the Salish—
they all washed down to fill this place.
We gained by their diminishment.
The harvest's passed to other hands.
The house is sold. The sap's curling
deep into the pines. "The weather's
turned," he says. I work the pump;
I try to slough the dirt stains off.
"Predictable as an Indian."