Alice Bolin

Needing Montana

Everything looks
a little smoke-blown now,
and the wind

that shakes the bike racks
whispers a new kind
of ice cream.
Here, it is easy
to sit by a river. 
No mountain is shy.

I’ve taken to making 
small picnics
and I leave them

at the just-swept
threshold of the river. 
To eat and to walk

empty through life.
Both feel unseemly. 
With friends, one can speak

of a life, singular,
that we live collaboratively. 
Let’s remember

how much we miss us all—
the mess of free furniture
just piled in the streets. 

Some nights it’s like
we’re being carted to a farm
in a station wagon,

excited by the sounds
of coyotes.  If we have
summer birthdays,

if we wear braces
on our legs or teeth,
if we drink water

from a copper jug,
then we may be
less special than we think.

I sometimes say
what I don’t mean
because my heart

is full and bruised
as a balloon.
Mark, I think

the worst way to part
is gently, with
sweet feelings

on all sides—to today’s sky
any cloud would be
an insult, save for

the thunderhead.