Mad Hatter and White Owl

The tunnelled mine
of trove Montana,
because of the human
nature of mine and man,
mightily owns him

as he goes in
towards tenebrae,
a stetson corked
and a sixgun cocked
in his crock of a barrow

that to the clawed gavel
of his hands yields
midges and mudcake
nuisance gravel:
seams of pennyweight
safe value never
peter out.

I’m there when,
like the white owl
flying the Rockies
that he shoots
and eats but doesn’t
know what for,

he sits for a while
after his meal,
wet beard sated,
to preen his boots,

then exquisitely tilts
the barrow and lets
his worked mine pour
its trove between
his tunnelled legs,
down and into
Montana once more,

my gold mad hatter
of mighty-sore,
of dig and mutter
and American dreams
among safe seams.

I’m out of town
when he packs it in
as fast as you’d pull
and punch a gun,
his body beside
the resplendent owl
he couldn’t wolf;
like a seam of the self:

golden white,
most golden in the world,
swears Montana,
that he brought down
from the flying Rockies,
maddened by the look
of nuisance mud.

As much as he could,
he’d cottoned on.

* Montana: America’s mountainous “treasure” state, rich in minerals, two-thirds of it rising inside the Rockies.