Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Poems: "Tonto" -- by Lowell Jaeger

We'd seen Tonto on TV
dismount, kneel,
press an ear to the prairie
and advise The Lone Raner
how many buffalo, how far.

A good trick
every Cub Scout should know,
though the only stampedes in our neighborhood
were occasional locomotives
charging across town.

And we'd been warned about trains.
Kids caught on the trestles,
stepping tie-by-tie
when the big black beast
rounded the bend and trampled them.

We stooped to lay our ears on cold rails, listening
for the clack-clack-clack
of unseen iron horses
pulling rust-buckets loaded
with pulp logs and scrap.

And stood, squinting into the distance
like Tonto,
claiming for sure
angry herds of boxcars
were headed our way.


Lowell Jaeger is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize, and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council. He is founding editor of Many Voices Press and has taught creative writing at Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell, Montana) for the past 30 years. Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting civil civic discourse.

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