It’s the only café open in Wolf Creek Canyon. And I need a driving break.
To drink from the well of images that floods the landscape on Highway 15 south of Helena. My
hand contracts in welcomed cramps after weeks of poetic drought.
I hum along with the cook, who is helping the Beach Boys confess fantasies about
California girls. Of which I’m geographically one. Genetically I’m full-blooded
The waitress doesn’t believe it because I order an egg white omelet. Says I’m definitely
Californian if I’m eating divorced eggs. And besides, the cook refuses to separate what
the good Lord has brought together. Brings me bacon and the best biscuit I’ve ever
I don’t mention cholesterol. An alien concept in beef and cream country. But I eat the
biscuit without butter. The only way to tell if it’s good anyhow. With butter they’re all
to die for. Like Montana itself, this biscuit needs no deceptive assistance. My hand
tightens again in metaphoric anticipation.
Espresso has reached certain regions of Montana. Tourist trapped and movie star
entrenched. But I know better than to ask for it here in Folgers territory. For fear
of having my pedigree replaced with a Starbucks franchise.
It’s the only café open in Wolf Creek Canyon. And I don’t need to drink strong coffee in
it to refill my creative cup. The caffeine is the camaraderie. The coming home. My
hand holds tight this muse called Montana.
From Where the Meadowlark Sings (2015), winner of the Encircle Publications 2014 Chapbook Contest.
Used here with the author's permission.