Mountain Man

Mountain Man

Hot-wired bears have foregone the berry,
ripping car doors off at night, prankster jocks
crashing through the brake on a candy high.

They pace their dens to a tight sugar clock,
and lie all day in the tall grass,
scratching at their dusty coats, idly tracking

long threads of milkweed butterflies.
Here and there he points out evidence
of ursine peaks and troughs.

He sets to showing me how to coax
a rag of flame from a nest
of shredded juniper bark…Pay attention!

But the forest scent, its list of bitters,
recalls me to the seam of moss pinched tight
between the paving slabs back home:

the velvet folds where Little-Boy-Green
has caught his princely britches,
fleeing to the underworld.

from A Republic of Linen (Bloodaxe Books, 2009) ? Patrick Brandon 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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