Up from Flathead Valley

Here they advertise a pair of Dairy Queens
and fifty churches—welcoming places
“in case your life is complicated,
you can have a word or two with God.”

Better outdoors to weigh my lapses:
canyons as catacombs, streams carving
stones to make churchyards of lupine
lit by wind-washed skies. Massaged

by grass, scraped by juniper, I climb
through apses of whitebark pine with pews
for bear and elk, to see above bold basalt
striped basilicas, shingled still with ice.

All day the arcing sun tests palettes on
these peaks—black to iron—rose, blued and
silvery grays, reds swished with peach and plum—
then lets moon brush darker tones again.

Guides will purge our steps when we’re gone
to keep lands looking wild. Fickle vicars, maybe—
yet more than collared priests, they have given
me a boost, or slowed at least my sliding down.

Bill Dill enjoys writing poetry rather than the prose expected as a professor and practitioner of management. He lives near Boston, but draws from special ties to mushrooms, mountains and coastal waters of Maine; from a large, close, and fun-loving family; and from variety where he has worked and traveled, in the U.S. and overseas.