Over in Montana
Winter stops by for a visit each year.
Dead leaves cluster around. They know what is
coming. They listen to some silent song.
At a bend in the Missouri, up where
it’s clear, teal and mallards lower
their wings and come gliding in.
A cottonwood grove gets ready. Limbs
reach out. They touch and shiver.
These nights are going to get cold.
Stars will sharpen and glitter. They make
their strange signs in a rigid pattern
above hollow trees and burrows and houses—
The great story weaves closer and closer, millions of
touches, wide spaces lying out in the open,
huddles of brush and grass, all the little lives.
~ William Stafford