Wyoming Love Song

A sweet country
Ignored by most
Lost on the map intentionally
A place of rough necks
And lonely women
Deer staring with children’s eyes
When surprised
Hawks fanning above
Dodging wild winds
Air currents that
Rip at clothes
Hit at houses
And make skin so raw

The wispiest of rainbows perched atop
Precarious citadels
Sandstone slipping down
Adobe towns
Full of swallows
And swallowed hikers
Led astray
By intermittent appearances of civilization

A heart-stopping flap of wings
Erupting from sage brush
0 to 60 in a coyote’s breath
A countryside of death
Of Malthusian midnights
Where bones are picked clean
By the sun
By everyone
Everything fighting for a bit of green
A hint of happiness
Barest survival

No bucolic panoramas
But people always try
Always irrigate
Now irradiate
Grasping for biblical splendour
In what some might call
The land of Cain
The land of rocks
Of sky
Of little ties to populations
Of bigger size

Peopled by antelope
Escaping predators long gone
White rumps still flashing
Shouting urgency
While humans saunter
Heads up, nods exchanged
A currency of grudging respect
Where fancy doesn’t fuel you
Like a big buffet
Like cheap gas, bud light
Or half-strength coffee
Like slow friendships
Lengths of prairie grass tucked together

~ Danielle Metcalfe Chenail

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail grew up in Ottawa but has recently moved to Edmonton from Wyoming. She is the author of For the Love of Flying and is currently working on two other books – a historical novel and a history of aviation in Canada’s north – but has always loved poetry.

Leave a Reply