Montana Authors Project

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In this land lived a part of the Nez Perce tribe called by the other Nez Perces Wal-lam-wat-kin. Those Injuns had lived in this valley as far back as they knew, but in time the white men seen this land and wanted it. In this valley the grass on the hills was never known to fail stock in the winter in the memory of Injun or white man....Those Injuns did not want to leave this land, but the white men started to come in small numbers at first and later more and more of them....General Howard was ordered to remove these Injuns out of the Wallowa Valley and force them on the Lapwai reservation. (205)…


We dated country style. On winter weekends, he'd pick me up in the battered four-wheel-drive and we'd spotlight for rabbits, driving for hours over the rough frozen prairie with a flask of whiskey between us. In summer, we took the shale ridge road overlooking the Missouri River, edging the truck around washouts and through creek crossings, stopping to explore long-abandoned homesteads. (196)…


To say Some Crows are riding upside down And falling into money Where the aborted live In the policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That's why the Maker showed the water beings At the edge of the Big Horn Mountains As the long otter lives on in white clouds Trickling down the veins Next to the star that is light.…


Back then Big Timber still had the only water park in Montana, and it sat right alongside the interstate. When we passed, I craned to see the strange toothpaste-green looping slides as they towered out of a field house cement vats of too-blue water. The place was packed.... Everything was heightened the way it always is when summer is slipping away to fall, and you're younger than eighteen, and all you can do is suck your cherry Icee and let the chlorine sting your nose, all the way up into the pockets behind your eyes, and snap your towel at the pretty girl with the sunburn, and hope to do it all again come June. (259)…


You could love here, not the lovely goat in plexiglass nor the elk shot in the middle of a joke, but honest drunks, crossed swords above the bar, three men hung in the bad painting, others riding off on the phony green horizon. Hugo, Richard. Selected Poems. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1979.…


When Dad hired on at the Camas, it had been with the contract that when summer came he would thread through the disorder of the place and get the ranch's rich hay crop harvested. Somehow a crew had to be held together through the months of mowing and raking and bucking and stacking of 150 butts of hay, some 1400 tons of it when at last all the fields had been sickled and combed clear—and Dad's reputation in the valley said he was the man to do it. (152)…


That evening the whole town turned out at the ball-park to hear Mr. Roosevelt speak on "Conditions." Miners and their wives and children, all dressed in their finest; farmers in their broadcloths and farmers' wives in their ginghams and sateens, drove into town in wagons and buggies. They looked like finicky families of birds high on their seats behind the swishing tails of horses. In all the faces of the crowd was an inexpressible awe and wonder. The plains roundabout and the sky above held something of the same magic quality. (71)…


"Get tough," my father snapped as I dragged my feet at the edge of a two-acre potato field. I was learning then the necessary lessons of weeds and seeds and blisters. My favorite story as a child was of how I fainted in the garden when I was eight. My mother had to pry my fingers from around the handle of the hoe, she said, and she also said I was stupid not to wear a hat in the sun. But she was proud. My granddad hooted with glee when he heard about it. (3-4)…


Top of Wolf Teeth, toward where it is cold all of the time, From Mountain with Something Beyond Looking into Cook Stove Basin for remnants of feelings. It was a cold day after a skiff of hard crackling snow, I was greeted by a cold shoulder of early winter wind Lonesome, chilled to the bone, chasing cattle through timber To finally lose them in the brushy thorn thickets.…


"Late that night, close to midnight. The whole Rock Creek campground was flooded with water from Hebgen Lake, and then the water couldn't get back out because this entire mountaintop fell down and dammed it." "And made Quake Lake," Irene finished for me. I nodded. "All these people got buried at the bottom of it. They're still down there, plus cars and campers and everything that had been in the campground." "That's so creepy," Irene said. "It has to be haunted...." (17)…

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