Bighorn River, Montana

Joshua Marie Wilkinson

The old ways in the world
are probably still somewhere inside
the bones of my wrist.

I don’t want to be part of any song
you’re humming as you use baiting
as a kind of verb.

On the third day I let the fishermen take
to the river early as I hung around

the cabin alone with a pot of coffee and
The Savage Detectives.

There’s something of me in that
story. But what does it communicate

of significance? If you shift, the hawks know.
That’s part of it. And if the vultures want you

they know what to do. That’s another part.

The moon’s raining white ash in the cholla.

My elderly neighbor likes to go in
and out of her house all morning, all afternoon.
Back and forth, the screen door’s squeak, then
smacking again and again, evidently

for nothing. Sometimes when I can’t think
I ask her in my mind to stop it. I never say
it out loud.

It’s her house, after all. But
God. It’s over. Just stop.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of a book called Meadow Slasher. He lives in Seattle.