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Richest Vein in the Nancy Hanks

Garnet, Montana, 21 August 2006

The richest vein in the Nancy Hanks
Terminated without premonition
Ended the budding desolation of hope
Sounded the knell of vanishing fortune

Hard rock miners endured another 20 years
'Til false promises drained like quicksilver
When fine dust blanketed the bunchgrass
The last stage left the mountain

Granny still sorted the remaining post
All postmarked from nicer places
Forwarded them or marked Return to Sender
Years after anyone came for it

Each breath contracts her crooked spine
She says, "T'was an old Chinaman...
with a long braid… worked at the hotel

Gave me my first firecrackers...
Still have 'em…downstairs…in a trunk.

Her breathing is an unnatural contest
I will her to seize up as I turn to leave
So I can rifle through her belongings
Touch off those virgin firecrackers
On the off chance they'll still explode