The Write Question

A weekly literary program from Montana Public Radio that features writers from the western United States.

The Write Question podcast

"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—"

Sep 21, 2015
Rune Guneriussen/Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—

the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding

even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore

'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...

Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.

One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting

Jill Johnson / G.P. Putnam's Sons | Penguin Random House

New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Gunfight Jeff Guinn once again brings the Old West to life in Buffalo Trail, the grand follow-up to Glorious.

Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, by Sneed B. Collard III

Bucking Horse Books, 2015

It's been a hot and smoky summer here in Western Montana and most of us were grateful for the rain that eventually brought an end to our smoke-filled air. Those of us who grew up in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s will remember the Forest Service's longest-running PSA campaign in history with the mascot of Smoky the Bear and the slogan, “Only you can prevent forest fires!”

"Phone Therapy"

Sep 14, 2015
Lilly Ledbetter, REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi / Lost Horse Press

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a window sill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"
I asked, "you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"

"The River of Light"

Sep 7, 2015

As liquid verdigris or, shaded,
Flowing onyx, the river
Knots, spinning loose

Denticles of fresh cold, catching
A willow branch in a current circlet
Where an ouzel stretches and folds

Mimicking electric spray.
Along both shores, ruby Mimulus
Sparks, Coneflower radiates.

This Is About Darkness

Aug 31, 2015
vasse nicolas, antoine

The forsythia eats sunlight
near the open barn door
where Bill Perry stands in his overalls watching
his dappled-gray Percheron, Pike.

The largest horse on record was a Percheron,
a mare, twenty-one hands
high. This stallion stands, easy,
at nineteen.

Pike can pull a Cadillac up Humpback Mountain
in a headwind.

On a clear day, standing atop a windswept ridge on the southern border of the United States, one can see a hundred miles into Mexico. From the southern horizon, the Sierra Madre range extends north to meet the Rockies along the continent’s spine.

Three haiku verses from Tyler Knott Gregson's forthcoming collection All The Words Are Yours:  Haiku On Love.

I know not the when
or the why of all of this,
I just know it's you.

About the book:

In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood with his sights set on becoming a stunt rider in the movies–and hoping to rub shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth.

Chasing Secrets, by Gennifer Choldenko
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House Children's Books

I’m reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn yet again when I hear a noise up on the third floor, where the servants live. Maggy Doyle has a way of being everywhere at once, like a dust storm. Still, I thought she was downstairs.

“Maggy!” I yell.

Not a sound from up above.

Could Papa be back? I would have heard him in the barn. Must be Jing. I jump off the bed and head for the stairs.

Maggy appears in the hall. “Miss Lizzie?”

“Is Jing home?”