Fading to gray

 

Drive lost to Wisdom, follow the Big Hole, 

search for Bon Accord -- Montana sage plain 

Elmer Miller loved, disappeared in

one autumn day. Friends say he left to die, 

poacher fading out of life. The evidence --

 

rifle etched with rust beside deer bones,

bleached outcrop rabbits dance past

under sky overcome by gray. In Bon Accord,

sage is law, stands tall, chokes desert 

even eagles shun, so dense no moon

 

lights trails miners took to Bannack,

intent on gold. A few say he struck it rich, 

found nuggets in tangled roots, perished

from greed. Dreamers claim he found

Sheriff Plummer's cache, loot Bannack

 

wouldn't trade for noose and outlaw's life. 

He fled overcast existence, left family, gun,

on the run for blondes, blue sky, sun.

Elmer's wife, withered, also gray, says no.

Mine shaft, he fell, at bottom calling help

 

now sixty years. Dark truth, Elmer's gone,

Bannack remains, rots, half caved in.

The living get whipped by bad wind,

dust lies thick  -- hope, all tracks,

including yours, fading to gray.

                                Timothy Pilgrim