Like My Father
Like my father, I was born
to the mountains, to the snow, me
to the creeping frost and golden starshine
and tenderly curling leaves of fall, him
to the softening earth and cautious budding
and rushing rivers of spring, but together
we love best the winter, where the moonlight soaks
the snow, reflects the snow, casting us twice
in light, casting us twice in shadow.
Like my father, I learned the path home
was a dirt road riddled with potholes that
sailed between the river and the stream,
that the golden green fields carried the call
of black capped chickadees from the willows
and the aspens and the snowy cottonwood seeds.
I learned the path home from where the dirt
met pavement, from where the stream
met river, learned twice in earth, learned
twice in water.
Like my father I loved the vantage
from high, first from shoulders, then from
the saddle, then from shoes. I doubt
either of us could ride now, whether
or not we wanted to. He would say
he is too old, I would say I had
And so we saw the world thrice,
from our fathers, from the horses,
from our feet.
Like my father I learned the twist
and strength of my body through labor, hoisting
hay and manure and carrying long irrigation
pipes that sweat in the summer sun. I learned my
hands in gunpowder and fishing poles and
saddle pommels and splinters from the wooden
fences that kept the horses in. And so we learned
our own bodies twice over, in a thousand and a half
tiny different ways.
Sitting with my father on concrete, in
Concrete, in heat and collared
shirts, in softness around our middles
And arms and sun spots faded from
I ask him if he misses the valley, the
ranch, the winter. He tells me that while
the valley will always be home, he
no longer misses the snow.
I do not believe him.