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Jim Harrison By. Ally Rennell

Jim Harrison

By. Ally Rennell

It's easier to breathe while reading Jim Harison.

Kissing the oft-untouched bottom of my lungs are words

like wild cherry, juneberry, thornapple.

This year, I forgot to be enticing, forever.

Topless tanning became merely (sheerly) necessity

as did long walks with no music and stew.

I've given up heavy drinking and dinner parties,

though the latter rather gave up on me, having moved

faraway from friends and familiars.

I'll admit a glass of chilled white is, sometimes,

the only antidote for a grouchy mood, and the distance

brings me closer to myself.

On trash day, my closest neighbor wheels my barrel

out to the street. We've never spoken a word,

but their dogs bark when I get home at night.

Sacred is the arc of every day in my rental-

home made of windows. The sun rises over

the San Juans and sets behind the Sleeping Ute.

This year, winter arrives with a ruddy complexion,

and we meet each other, for the first time, with mutual

offerings-hers, snowfall; mine, juniper to catch it.

How grueling it's been to contort life into one season.

How unnatural, how-unnoticed. Apologies are vain,

so I whisper into the white, Let's be here, now.

She complies, and we walk to the thicket beside

the river. Holding Harrison's memoir against

my body, my true home (his words), I sweep

the high desert in silent thanks.

Cliffrose, dewberry, the quaking aspen.

The sea is a roadtrip away, but I breathe deep

of thin air, and succumb in joyful earnest to stay here,

to care for this land, and let it do the same for me.

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