Jon Horton
Jackson Hole Mysteries
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View from a Cemetery
Near Rock Port, Iowa

Across the Missouri river from here
lie the plains
now plowed

On this side of the river
ranked on a slumped clay bluff
our old graves are fixed like balcony seats
where we can feel the sky
above the west—where we did not go

Out there are hunting hawks
against a high and breath-held sky

But here against this hill
the trees are close
songbirds swarm the boughs above
and we feel safe

Out there
under that wide wide sky

dry lightning

This is as far as we could go
to this last wooded hill
before the west

And it is comfortable here
in the ground below the birds—
birdsong and long sleeps here
where it is...settled
the land cleared long ago
and a dozen good oak fencelines
passed to dust and dirt
to root the new steel posts
which claim to last forever

As forevers go

Wild things are out there still
we hear
out across the river
waiting in the wind-lashed grass

While in the wide and pale sky
high wheeling hawks screech
like mothers
burying children in the wagon road
to confound coyote and the wolf

And beyond that horizon
we heard
are cold and frozen mountains
buffalo and uncouth men

it is comfortable here
beneath the beehum and the breeze

Surely we missed nothing

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Jon Horton

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