The two sisters undressing by lantern light
in a tent at Ranger Lake, you belly-crawled
like a brave over pinecones and rock
to the edge of their screen, at fourteen—
then gone from us all by thirty-five.
All the broken hearts that saw it
coming, daring the wild and envious
gods you teased repeatedly. How
could we not love you for it—all
that we were not despite our tender times?
I only half-believed you were not gone,
riding ridgetops, this quarter century—
only half-believed you’d be more alive
than myth within my befuddled mind
looking for help to brand some calves.