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Frosty

MONTANA

My father was born in Minnesota. They called him Frosty. His real name was Forrest Adolphus. My father’s mother died giving birth to his younger brother. A year later the baby, Cameron, also died. He died on the train that was taking him to Canada to live with relatives. That left my father, who was four years old at the time, and his brother who was six. And their father, who took them both to the train station so they could see a train. But when it left he was on it. Just like Cameron. At sixteen my father ran away to Montana. Decades later my younger sister decided to go to school in Minnesota. We all went to settle her in. None of us knew we were returning to the scene of the crime.

“Frosty especially loved his dad. He would crawl into his lap every chance he got” it was explained to us. Five kids and thirty years of marriage later there was still a witness.  Aunt Ida talked about the day of the train.

I heard my mother say, “That explains a lot.”

My father didn’t talk much. He had an eighth-grade education, the soul of a poet and a really great sense of humor. On one of my visits home we went on a horseback ride together. During the comfortable silence of that two-hour ride a plane flew overhead. Pointing at it he said, “There’s civilization com’n.”

Yeah. I really liked him.

Maybe this is the way
              Frosty

Broncos bucking like dancers
twisting and reaching for the skies
T
ry to hold on

he stood alone in the egg room
staring out a pitch black window

Did I ever show you a photo of my mother?

Never a stray word
never a faithless horse
always the back of a train moving away

Wisdom like a poet
gum stuck to the dashboard
the big tease
one of a kind, a dying breed
inherit that

Inherit a calendar that’s out of date
a rodeo that’s over
sweaty leather
and ropes that flew like a plane

We look to haunted skies
he said kiss me

He isn’t haunted anymore
one more line

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