© 2021 MTPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

"Hardscrabble Prairie Triptych"

Missouri-River-E-MT_ChrisMMorris.jpg
Chris M. Morris
/
Missouri River, Eastern Montana

——Follow Me

I know a place where barb-wire
wreathes the heaped bones of horse.
I know where we can shoulder our bright

rifles and bag a twine string
of rabbits. It's out past the alkali basin,
right in the dark yawn of that sod-roof shack.

——It'll Get You Every Time

See how gravel breathes the river?
How water slows and pools, now begins
to stink? I pull mussels from their nests of mud,

you work a quick knife clean
through each. There's nothing to be done
about hope. See no matter the stories there's never

any pearls. We crack them open
anyway, shells bright as a boy's eyes,
scoop out each stinking handful of meat.

——Back to the Land

Like the lovely drunk
at the Antlers we so admired,
with his blue suit and cloud bright hat,

on land here falls flat
on its back. Just dust and blue grass
and a wind bearing up dry rivers of sky.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Write Question blog
The Write Question on Facebook
The Write Question podcast

Notes from the Journey Westward, poetry by Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins was raised on the high plains of eastern Montana and now lives in Oregon. His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Ecotone, The Sun Orion, and Slate, among other magazines and literary journals. "Hardscrabble Prairie Triptych" was published in his 2012 collection of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward.

Triptych: a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels that are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. (Wikipedia)
 

Related Content
  • Often, as mother bent her slender backto the fields, or pulled the bloody slipof a lamb into the world,I wandered the house,studying motes of dust brought…
  • You must hold it close to your ear, andwhen it speaks to you, you must respond. - Richard HugoI found it by the Clark Forkon a high bank above the…
  • Slept by a flat mudreservoir with sandhill cranescluttering soundall nightway out herein the dragging wind.We go for breakfastsmelling like sage, cow and…
  • He wakes tired from sleeping roughin the cab of a pickup truckthat remembers the Vietnam war.He wakes up raw-belliedfrom going to sleep hungry,from…
  • Backdrop: spirit mountains,rustling trees, sounds and scentsof late spring. Evening sunsquanders deepest crimson.To this we drink and to our livescome…
  • Now that wet street smellevening rush hour,and I have a flat tire.This morninga dead dog in the ditcha black roamer who would come inand leave our yard…
  • why print books he saidwho needs books these dayseverything's on the webwell i wouldn't know i saidi still enjoy turning pagesin a chair by the firestill…
  • We have just arrived.We are standing on the south rimlooking down, feeling our bodies slipand fall away from us past the cliff faceinto that deep space…