Who was that in the early morning fog
Ghosting his way down the river
In a pale canoe
Was that humility floating by?
The air is so thick who can tell anything until the sun rises high enough to boast away this mist
And leave us here basking like
When our blood runs warmer we can be sure it was only the fog
Snaking its way into the sunrise
We can be sure of
So many things
★ ★ ★ ★
Every night dad would light his pipe and throw the match into the fireplace.
The smoke that rose out of the bowl and from his mouth curled
around magically and formed familiar shapes before it faded and fell to the floor only to be sucked up into the night sky.
It was sometime after Thanksgiving
that I noticed shapes in the smoke.
It took several evenings before I began to discern that there was a story being told in the smoke each night. The same story every evening.
Something about cows was all I could get for the longest time until one night when the horses jumped out at me like shooting stars.
The next night it became clear to me that my smoky theater was a cattle drive plain and simple except for the way the cows and horses and cowpokes all vanished so abruptly . This usually happened about the time I had to lock the barn up so I was a bit distracted. Over time I increased my concentration until I finally solved the puzzle . An earthquake, the earth was splittin’ wide open and they was all fallin’ down.
When I had put it all together something really strange happened, I only saw smoke out of my daddy’s pipe. The story was over and has been for over ten years now but I think of it every night out here on the prairie ,as I blow smoke up to the stars and listen to the men talk about the whiskey and the women in this place we’re headed.
California they say, California.