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Tony Alter

Tent collapsed.
Greg's eyes wide:
Oh shit I'm sleeping in water.
Our light tries, but dies.
Pound stake with shoe!
(The ground resists—it's the Rocky Mountain Front.)

Nylon wall hold wind at a distance,
a boat carrying our sleepy heads
through familiar smells of old records,
hidden cigarettes, sweaty coins from the '50s when...
an invisible lizard climbs up my neck,
scurries through my hair to the base of my skull.

Kneads the skin yet doesn't break it.
Plants itself at rest on my head till
I feel the race of its heart in the muscles of my face.
I breathe heavy one two three four.
It's not leaving, wants to stay there,
but I can't take it,
shake my head to knock it off.
Expect claws to release, body to hit the tent.
He fades like the sound of a bell.
And I'm left with an ached, not sure if I lost
my friend or saved my brain.

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Katherine Romano began writing poetry out of necessity, when chronic back pain made writing prose a luxury. She has worked for invironmental protection and grassroots media. A native New Yorker, Katherine is "still learning from Montanans how to take it easy, keep my prioities straight, and connect with the ancient wisdom of the planet."

"Raindreams" was published in Poems Across the Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets.

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