Hot wood bench on a July Montana afternoon.
Green field surrounded by fence,
held close by trees.
Mountains fold in on themselves
the way time and place fold here.

At ten, my bench was third base dugout
where backwoods kids awaited turns at bat.
At seventy it’s all about the dogs,
but there’s still a dance around the ball.
Shepherd puts it in play.
Sleek Dobie picks it up and baits him.
She leads off with a coy glance.
He follows, circles and tags her.
Inning after inning old rituals play out.

Fields and years haze together on a hot Montana day.
Ninety degrees dizzy or the drift of smoke from fires
fifty miles to the south?  It doesn’t matter.
Dog or human our desire is to see the ball,
meet the ball, follow through with grace,
and leave this field of joy stepping high.