My feet say,

“Don’t hurry. Be here. Do this,”

splashing like hooves.


The long moss flowing from stone over skulls of Crow

and Blackfeet riding on hidden ponies.


The Missouri River curves

over rocks hot with sun, slopes past

thick brush crackling with a touch.


At the Little Gates, I sew up my sneakers to last

another day or two in shin deep waters at Three Forks.


A trestle on one side,

a highway on the other. Both sides

a boisterous moon.


It plays hide-and-seek between trains and trucks

in purple nights with the Rocky Mountain silhouettes.


Strong with deer-scent

the Jefferson River keeps me lingering

behind tiny hoof-prints.


There is no better sound, nor hidden present, each step

slippery in the snow melt. I stay in my body waiting.


Rapids bubble past

from willow shade to mountain shade

to pools of blue light.


Where bears snuffle in the fog, Big Baldy Mountain

strip-mined to an inverted cone puddles the red moonlight.


Nesting sandhill cranes

form wild circles in the upstream grass.

The broken rudder gets repaired.


With practice, I step among the garter snakes foraging

underwater, like freight trains in valleys of river stones.


With intricate hugs

they nudge beneath rocks for nymphs,

holding their snake breaths.


All day I walk until evening falls into my mind,

reading Lame Deer in the last quiet light of sunset.


A little brown bat

climbs up and nestles head down

from the top of my sock.


My feet, the roots, little wings that flutter, petals

released from the earth, a vase for each small thing.