The day is a woman who loves you. Open.
Deer drink close to the road and magpies
spray from your car. Miles from any town
your radio comes in strong, unlikely
Mozart from Belgrade, rock and roll
from Butte. Whatever the next number,
you want to hear it. Never has your Buick
found this forward a gear. Even
the tuna salad in Reedpoint is good.
Towns arrive ahead of imagined schedule.
Absorakee at one. Or arrive so late—
Silesia at nine—you recreate the day.
Where did you stop along the road
and have fun? Was there a runaway horse?
Did you park at that house, the one
alone in a void of grain, white with green
trim and red fence, where you know you lived
once? You remembered the ringing creek,
the soft brown forms of far off bison.
You must have stayed hours, then drove on.
In the motel you know you’d never seen it before.
Tomorrow will open again, the sky wide
as the mouth of a wild girl, friable
clouds you lose yourself to. You are lost
in miles of land without people, without
one fear of being found, in the dash
of rabbits, soar of antelope, swirl
merge and clatter of streams.
~ Richard Hugo, 1923-82, was professor of English at University of Montana for almost 20 years. Much loved and respected, he authored numerous books of poetry and prose. His honors included a fellowship from the American Academy of Poets and National Book Award nominations for The Lady in the Kicking Horse Reservoir and What Thou Lovest Well Remains American. This poem is reprinted from Selected Poems by Richard Hugo. Copyright ©1979 by Richard Hugo. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.