Montana Dream Workshop by Nils Peterson

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Essays, travels

I open the shade

            to an immense

                        Montana early winter morning,

White-topped mountains

            thrusting up into a soft

                        ash-gray, bluish-red sky.

            A moose cow and calf –

            still almost shadows –

            nibbling on the water reeds,

            by the half frozen pond,

            and on the last low brown leaves

            of the almost bare trees.

            One of the women set off for her cabin in the dark dressed in black without a flashlight and startled a moose also dressed in its autumnal black coat. The moose chased her.  The woman was young and quick and of all things ran and hid herself under a life-sized statue of a moose poised on the edge of a real pond.  When the other women started to go to their cabins. they heard both the moose and the plaintive cries of Kimberlyn from under the moose statue and stepped back inside to call the ranch equivalent of 911, but he didn’t wake up.  Somehow they all got back to bed, I don’t know how.

Winter’s

a gray-brown road

between gray-green grasses.

You know

a thousand shades of green.

Here learn brown.

Wind blows brown dust

up along a dry road,

turns and blows it back.

Wind sits

and rocks

on the porch swing.

Wind feels out the shape

of your face like a blind woman

meeting a stranger.

Far off a throaty grunt.

A bird call, yes,

but not song.

            However high the bright sky reaches

            its shadow in the pond’s as deep.

Good Advice Hard To Follow

If you encounter a bear,

            walk, don’t run, away.

Move slowly – don’t make

            eye contact – If

the bear charges – stand your ground.

If the grizzly continues to come at you,

            lie face flat on the ground,

hands clapped around the back of your neck,

            and play dead.

The bear will likely leave you alone

            or paw you inflicting

            only minor injuries.

From a pamphlet given us to read before going on a walk.

 

BIO: Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University where he taught in the English and Humanities Departments. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varying as golf and Shakespeare, has had several chapbooks and three collections of poetry, the latest, All the Marvelous Stuff, 2019. In 2009, he was chosen to be the first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County.

 

 

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Sarah Leamy is a freelance writer, a novelist, and cartoonist. She is a MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is on the editorial team at Upstreet, Hunger Mountain, and Wanderlust-Journal. She is currently writing a collection of short stories as well as a novel called Buzzed, Busted, and Broke. She has lived in England, Germany, Spain, Guatemala and the Southwest of the US. Sarah lives in Vermont.

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