In the early seventies
Greg and I moved back to the land.
Here, no National Guard, no protests
on the steps of Bank of America,
no hash to smuggle into Isla Vista.
We watched leaves turn copper and vermilion
while rutting elk bellowed through air so still
even the aspen refused to quiver.
The radio played country western.
The local paper came twice a month.
Outside, winter drifts swallowed
fence posts. Inside, I couldn’t feed
the smoke-stained fireplace enough
to warm the house and didn’t think
about the rifle tucked behind
his Gibson guitar in the bedroom closet.
Nights shortened, river ice shattered,
and every morning another newborn calf
shimmered among rangy herds
grazing in spring melt.
With pickax and shovel, Greg
tilled thawing dirt for our garden
but never opened the packets of seeds.
When he told me he wanted to leave this place,
I thought he meant our home.
It didn’t occur to me to hide the bullets.