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white river poems 413
on the window as a gust
drives against it; never mind
the snows of the past, this one
will do, that arrives melting,
the dry washes even now
run sorrel-red -- including
that where Ouray's bones, maybe,
get turned up and rearranged,
tumbled smooth in the gritty
fl ow and re-buried yearly
further along in the sand.
A battered-up old cowboy
two places down stares at me --
he can't place me. Some ranch boys
in a booth raise a clamor
of barnyard noises, mooing
howling cackling oinking,
all embarrassed energy
in self-parody. No one
speaks of them but the waitress,
who says, `My goodness.' Meeker
is taking in all the scene.
He turns and watches the old
cowboy get up and go out
head bent sidewise to the storm,
stiff -legged, slow, agonized,
and to-himself dignifi ed,
all of him moving at once
(like the old man that Wordsworth
compared to a cloud moving)
his shape disintegrating
in the slant and swirl of snow.
A young rancher and his wife
at a table toward the rear
are feeding their two babies.
`Those two would have been the cream