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The West

the river thinks in fish. what was it then
that sergeant henley first wrested
from it, the eyes yellow and locked, the barbels
two firehooks around the ash-grey mouth
that made even the dogs whimper?

the rapids and their raving
grammar that we followed toward the spring.
the haze-mountains in the distance,
the long grass prairie and now and then

a native who, amused,
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