something?" Beulah asked.
I had worn my gun all through dinner. It had
been a long, unpredictable day.
"Just be a minute," I said.
I went into the bedroom and took off the holster
and placed it in the top bureau drawer.
I came back into the living room and Beulah
was out front, waiting beyond the open door.
I held out my hand. We started across the
bed of dry needles through the last slanting shafts of yellow light
broken by pine boughs.
We stepped through the arch of aspen to stand
on the bank.
The sky shone rose and yellow behind the western
mountains. The leaves were growing dark, the parchment trunks whiter
now, the moving water changing from gold to a cool silver. Below the
surface the white statue shone like blue marble.
love Montana," Beulah said.
At our feet lay the fresh, sharp night scent
of ferns. Above our heads the aspen leaves rattled. Crickets called
the river. A mourning dove cooed.
"'Already with thee,'" Beulah said. "'Tender
is the night.'"
"'But here there is no light--'"
"'Save what from heaven is with the breezes
verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.'"
"I love that, Phil." Her loose hair drifted
across her mouth, and she touched the dark strands with her hand.
Her face was lifted in the afterlight.
"Is this real?" Her voice was low.
"I think so," I said. "It feels like a dream
but I think it's real."
"Hold me close," Beulah said.
I took a step and kissed her mouth. Her hair
smelled fresh as sun and I held her against me, then moved my lips