My Sister

My sister is a place where
Sorrel horses walk single file through tall
Lodgepole stands,
Where sunlight severs down and dulls and shatters
Before it hits the ground,
Where the grass is tall saw grass, wavy
Like the grass in the Sargasso Sea,
Where eels spawn and the new eels
Migrate to the continents of their parents’
Origin, inexplicably . . .
We don’t know how they do that.
Life is nothing if not obvious.

My sister is a place where
I left the gas cap on top of the ’82 Land Cruiser.
It’s got to be around here somewhere,
But I can’t find it,
And if it’s around here
It’s walled by snowy mountains where
The wildflowers (lupines, columbines, penstemon)
Bloom a month later than here,
And are smaller,
And all around are aspen trees turning yellow
As their yellow leaves turn in the wind,
Where things that fall and roll away
Cannot be found under the fragrant sage,
And as I look around, I’m thinking
Of the time I chained and churned and shoveled
That rig through five miles of thigh-deep snow,
Occasionally jacking it up in back
And tipping it off forward to keep going
Just to get to a phone to call a girl,
And the time I drove with my daughter
Across Nebraska and Iowa in 105 degrees,
Blocks of ice to cool us pooling on the floor.

My sister is a place where
Rivers swell in spring and falter in the fall.
My sister is a place
Where no time passes.
We cannot live there.

James Galvin is the author of seven books of poetry and two of prose. When he isn’t living in Wyoming, he teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.