David Thornbrugh
Montana Without a Map

What I don’t know about Montana
keeps the car rolling all day,
Grandpa Freud’s bare feet on the dashboard
and Uncle Nietsche’s beer cans
rolling around on the floor.
Grandpa Freud says the river is down there,
further down, just keep driving,
but Montana is thicker than I thought,
like a buffalo’s tongue flashing neon
in the lightning sky.
Sheriffs point the way with silver flashlights
the way the doctor asks you to say ah.
When rock ridges block the way down
I get out and follow the old man
who appears as a guide.
Grandpa Freud goes deeper just to pee
while I watch the Buddhas in the aquarium
and tell the turtles I’ll bring them pie
when this is all over,
when I climb back out carrying
what I’ve learned about Montana
and how different it is from what I’d expected.