THE COUNT

                         At least I know where my orange trees are.
                                   – Todd Dofflemyer

Cold in shade, in canyons,
or on the backside of mountains
where strays won’t stay between

sunlit ridges—like finding horses
at Five Lakes, in the Tamaracks,
standing in the first light of day.

How many pairs of boots
did I wear out tracking pack stock,
hearing the bell in my mind?

But always that moment alone,
empty-handed, searching,
sorting sign for the illusive truth

when we become boys again,
helpless and humbled
by circumstance and time.

Spreadsheets don’t fit
uneven ground that swallows
livestock—that seldom match

what’s in the corral. This is
no business for accountants
when the numbers move

to breach columns and fences,
or get inspired by the moment
to try an idea of their own.

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