These Mutts are Near

Soon, you stand at the door
of a smoke-filled cabin
with a bunch of mid-aged,
mid-thirties, mid-something guys
in various states of facial
hair growth and brown
(or beige) ball caps
sipping coffee from blue
speckled tin cups
even though they pack out
plastic foldables from REI
to use in the backcountry.
Bill is telling everyone
about the bighorn Montana story
and then they stop.
They stare at you like
you’re the protagonist
of a Western film walking in
to the local saloon
for the first time.
Bill just happened to say,
“once upon a time,”
but he was talking about
horns and sheep -
generally those attached
to the latter -
and how Bill wished
they were less attached.
How he asked to borrow them
for an undisclosed period
of time and how
the rams acquiesced begrudgingly
because they figured
it was better than getting

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