Cannot Speak Montana

What I saw is a secret.
In whispers, I must only hint at
a northern Rimrock ridge,
a chain of snow-capped mountains called Beartooth,
unnaturally drawn carvings into a landscape from plane view
I could not identify,
irrigation ditches said the gentle guide at road level,
a canal where I would go
the last morning to pray,
the only way I know how.

Monday morning on my feet snaking a bicycle wheel-wide path
without falling, out of practice, forgetting the verses,
all the pauses and kneeling that must be choreographed just so

till I see what I must only whisper,
till I can take my trail mass to his bedside,
tell him louder than Roman chants
that I ran along his altar,
was trailing after him one more time,
while he rested half a lifetime of roads
into the quietest missal you can read
only if you close your eyes to hear,
your ears to see.

It is a secret
I must whisper. Two nights ago
with your hand tight around mine,
your breath tight around time,
yelling with lips through which nothing comes,
defying you to give me more road,
more trail you have in you than a mere cartographer,
to unfold before me,
whether or not I will be able to fold it up flat again.

I must only whisper
how the ridge and the ditches and the sky captivate,
can only whisper
how you, my father, must not die tonight,
can only whisper what you see, have seen,
I saw, am seeing—
this secret Big Sky.

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