Take this ghosttown. Take
canyons of stone throats
breathing, take the hail-thrown
windrows and these bleached
riverstones, stinking in the heat.
Take fishbones and the lifeless
slurry of the shallows. Take talc-
fine dust, windblown and emery
in my teeth. Take hardpan, take sidelong
eyes, take this sun, lazy devil in the west
and that old dog the moon chasing it
each night, lusty and aflame. Take salt. Take
fire, ridgeline dervish of the late-day heat, take
the red cayenne wind. Give me the hard,
sudden underbelly of storm, and give me
the whole carnival of stars after.
A creekbed remembering the water’s
body. Give me a mouth
that tastes like rain.
MELISSA MYLCHREEST writes poetry and nonfiction in western Montana. She holds an MS in environmental studies and an MFA in creative writing.