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Slept by a flat mud
reservoir with sandhill cranes
cluttering sound
all night

way out here
in the dragging wind.

We go for breakfast
smelling like sage, cow and creek water,
small town diner
a new mural half painted across old brick.

Remember how the waitress accuses us
of stealing postcards of their local boys
hometown band?

I tell you, she will not relent
despite all our defending
in our bright polypropylene fleeces
and reflective shoes.

It is just that everyone here, us too
are trying to stay suspended
in an old time.

Then there is Mavis rolling her big white boat
of a car downhill to open the grocery next door
with its dusty cans of whole chicken
and cards of black buttons.
She actually is suspended in an old time.
Baby carrots way past expiration and wrinkling apples.
We buy four pounds of peanut butter
in a glass jar priced before the recession.

Down valley
money is creeping up the corridor
wooden houses perched on riverbanks
new iron ranch signs
Paradise Found.

The town grows mean on the outskirts
trying to keep its rural safe.

Oh Montana
so many people want you.

Breaking through
like water tension
into the place
that holds
you quiet.


Cedar Brant is a poet, writer, and biologist. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Camas, and Poems Across the Big Sky. She's also a member of Bentgrass, a troupe that tours Montana performing poetry and music, and hosting writing workshops. "Outskirts" was published in Brant's 2010 collection Like Any Other Dream Will Do.

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