Sunrise crests the southern peaks,
strikes the white hut high on the hill,
casts shadows along a railroad spur.
Winter rode in on a boxcar last night,
spent the new moon’s savings in a
ghostly brothel. All night, wind ran
cold hands up the valley’s things,
bristling with newly naked aspen and
pines that know not the beetle hordes.
An old man with smoldering beard and
eyes of grey glass cries outside the Victoria
tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
but he’s more Lear than Scottish thane,
banished as he is to a mountain moor
far from daughters loyal or treacherous.
A brewpub inhabits the old mortuary,
customers soaking up suds instead of
embalming fluid. Every alley you skirt
harbors defrocked Klansmen who
scurry into dilapidated shacks or dive
into dumpsters, mumbling of nooses,
shotgun blasts and crucifix ash.
The Arkansas flows wild silver between
hot yellow cottonwoods, a river anticipating
canyon curves but regretting, like all
pure water, flowing closer to the Springs.
Look west toward Monarch Pass and see
in the flats green fumes rising from a
herd of porcine developers who dream of
bedrock, valleyview, alpineglow over
identical subdivisions, followed by the usual
quick getaway. You wish to be a trout
swimming upstream and even as you
whisper those words you wake
in clear shallows, current strong
through your gills, jeweled beams
lighting your flanks. Autumn is over
and you know in your fine bones you must
swim and swim and never stop.
Ransick, Chris: Asleep Beneath the Hill of Dreams, Ghost Road Press, Denver, 2010: 81.