April 10

At Chico Hot Springs, Feeling like Raymond Carver, Thinking about Richard Hugo

You can’t live in Montana too long

(if you have a certain kind of bent

for reading and drinking and mountains

in no particular order)

without meeting Richard Hugo

out there somewhere.

He’s a quote a friend tosses out

before he hands you a beer,

He’s a book you find

in a heap of poetry and fishing magazines

in a bathroom at some party.

Driving Montana

is one of his best,

you thought today

(like many days)

driving Montana

West to East today,

and, really,

not even all that far East

but enough that you saw that antelope,

you wondered about that ranch house,

you wished you had time to pull off

at the stops with No Services.

And in this hotel room now

with no phone,

no TV,

the bathroom’s down the hall,

you wish you could buy Richard Hugo a beer

at the bar downstairs.


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