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The Quarrel


Climbing in sullen silence past treeline

where blasted spruces drunkenly incline,

we stumble on two racks of caribou.

Clasped in a deadlock neither bull could break

they bleach beside a frigid Yukon lakeó

amateurs who never locked horns with you.


Destruction Bay, Yukon




Return to the Beartooth


Each year our packs grow heavier

and glacial torrents deeper.

Cutthroat trout are savvier

and switchbacks steeper.

We have outgrown our ardor.

Nights are colder,

groundbeds harder,

and the lovers on the shoulder

of the mountain older.


Timothy Murphy



From The Deed of Gift, Story Line Press, © 1998.

Reprinted by permission of the author and
Story Line Press, Ashland, Oregon.

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