The East Rosebud Trip

  • Moose

    Neal and MJ Mishler

Far past road signs local paranoia claimed
would signal the Russians' attack from Montana
(numbers I'd thought were Highway Department codes
                mass produced in Chicago

maybe to identify routes and mileage, lo and behold
turned out to be signals for the New World Order's
global hegemony - so clutch your rifle); past all that
               the road bed turned gravel,

torn edges sort of drifting into the creek;
far past Red Lodge and Roscoe's one cafe, fake bear
plopped on the roof needing some paint, a touch-up;
              far past the final

summer cottage, East Rosebud Lake breathed, shrugged,
scrawled mountains on turquoise scales, slips of metal
waves flashing heat-borne currents from those pinnacles.
             Far past East Rosebud

a moose creek, willow-choked with muskeggy stuff
sure enough by evening brought out the moose himself,
armed, dangerous, rutting. Instinct you might call our distrust
             or mutual fear.

O we weren't so different, he and I --
eyes met, sized each other up. He charged. I fled,
parting with courage, human dignity, Kantian, Cartesian,
             all that categorical

imperative and cogito ergo sum stuff.
I fled. Russians themselves couldn't heft such a rack,
each tine polished, ready. Goring a soft-
              flanked rival would be easy,

it seemed. Let alone me. Annoyance, mosquito
buzz - that's what I amounted to. Running,
getting the hell out. His charging convinced me.
              New World Order. Sure.

Cara Chamberlain writes from Fort Kent, Maine.

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