WHAT IS LEFT

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Submitted Date 02/17/2019
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I.

It is the end of November. Wet, no snow

yet. They say

this place is a ghost town, but here I am,

sitting on the deck of the Lodge, surrounded

by a tamarack valley weighed down with wandering

clouds—trees speckled yellow. Quiet.

My blind dog, Dusty wears a jacket inside.

His muddy paws are tucked beneath blue merle fur.

II.

The cemetery, a schoolhouse, a dance hall, and the church still stand. Domesticated

rabbits, spotted and black, stand out in Fall grass—both anticipate

the first frost of Winter.

III.

Etched in the cool marble markers are names, and dates, and poetry—

eroded words covered in pale lichen. I press my fingers into the curves of letters,

making words from what is left for me to feel.

Young mothers, daughters, wives, and infants, cradled

in this valley. Souls that lived to see the Blue Mountain pines

in 1829.

IV.

It is the end of November. The innkeeper returns from Baker City.

The sun is setting somewhere beyond where I can see.

The fog dissipates, rising above the valley

into the overcast sky.

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