Instructions for a New Job in Missoula, Montana

Rise, meditate, exfoliate

Eat your porridge and drink your pinyon coffee

Click play for Peter, Paul, & Mary


Notice how a bird feather never leaves the street corner,

Lodged in dried, pale grass,

Not even lifted by fire-fueled winds.


Step onto the bus

Smile at the driver and

Join the company of a

Nurse with heavy eyeliner,

A vagabond grandmother fiddling with a newspaper,

A student staring through tinted windows –


Sit by the men with heavy, weathered packs –

Pray the pregnant woman does not go into labor

Along the bumps of Orange Avenue


Wonder about the tattoos,

The skin hanging on his body – pulled and

Forced into decisions I’ve never known –

Tear up at the lilt of Paul’s never shine again


After three blocks, notice the scent,

Like we’ve worked weeks on a farm –

Earth and salt and cumin –

Imagine we are the only ones alive,

All that’s left of this ragged planet –

A mishmash of beating hearts riding the Mountain Line


And feel

The strange turn

A tickle

A rustling

In your ribcage


For eight minutes and twenty-two seconds, we are


We are Beloved,

Held in this diesel-powered palm


2 thoughts on “Instructions for a New Job in Missoula, Montana

  1. love especially PP and M.. remember when we saw them at the Inauguration.. heaven.. they would love your poem

    Sent from iCloud The Rev. Joanna J. Seibert M.D. Deacon St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock Home 27 River Ridge Road Little Rock, AR 72227 501.225.5002 fax 501 225 8959 cell 501 4258525 Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics UAMS emeritus Department of Radiology Arkansas Children’s Hospital hospital 501 3644914 fax 501 3641513

    Liked by 1 person

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