A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Judith Waller Carroll

has won awards for her poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction.

Recent work appears in Stone’s Throw Magazine.

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Leaving Montana

And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place . . .
T. S. Eliot

Last night a flood of starlight
cast a ghostly glow on the sunflowers,
the raspberry canes, the shadowy
pines at the edge of the yard. If we listened hard,
we could hear the far-off bugle of the elk
that spent last summer down by the draw.

This morning every leaf on the cottonwoods
is afiregold, orange, magenta,
and a few feathery clouds barely move
above the house, the pond, the field where the kids
played flashlight tag that first winter,
snow glazing their hair like fairy dust.

There are so many reasons to go,
but try telling that to the asters, reaching
like arms as we pull out of the driveway,
or the squirrel questioning us with his tail
as he gathers acorns by the Saunders’ oak.
Even the black bear has come down from the hills
to leave his berry-rich opinion at the end of the lane.

We turn left on Ricketts Road for the last time,
cross the silver bridge, and just beyond the first bend
we finally see the moose that’s been spotted
where the river runs along Main Street,
makes a sharp right turn, heads down
toward Highway 93 and flows out of town.