On Driving Western Roads

Was it Sacajawea buried here? All the people carrying burdens to hold over the Pacific ocean. All the ways a horse can lay down its head. Roads unfurling into what? The forests of Seussian trees; the carpets of wildflowers: resourceful, jaunty. Outside of Ennis, Montana, the foothills roll into blue real hills. The real blue hills fold into real blue sky. Big Sky. Plains and glaciers. Glaciated plains with their screes of debris. Cows roam. When did you decide on blue and gold? When did you decide on green? The road unfurls into dilapidated farms. The image of a Ford driving away down the road. The image of the first timid deer over the doorstep. And they – deer and antelope and foxes – flushing out onto roads or wandering the stalks of corn. The real cowboys with their round chew silhouettes; rubbed raw, back pocket. And you can still be born and still go to high school and still die in these places. The ladies used to come and look in consternation at the lakes, fanning. You can see where the photographers brought their plate glass and curtains thousands of feet up. A bear is above you; the sunset’s unfurling below. The sunset is a cloud threading its hand over the crags. The sunset is the ring of blood on the trees. The bones of original ancestors lie here. The Blackfeet called this the backbone of the world. Even Sacajawea was buried here. Even she.