Ashley Valmere, Cabin Near Old Copper Town (photograph)

The last colt on the ranch dies
and no one has the will to dig another grave—
earth too dry, shovels worn
dull. In the empty corral, 
the youngest farmhand shears
tail hair, ties it to a stick
of whittled birch. 
When the sun dissolves hide, 
muscle, he pulls the bow
across the blanched arches
of the ribcage, allegro, 
andante—a butcher of sound
carving the melody, 
a flank for the ancestors
in the creek bed, who sing
along in spite of their conversion.


Benjamin Gucciardi