The day I die I hope this old yellow dog
will slip from my fist like string through a bead
and jog west, tongue out, dim eyes leaping
to the distant green and granite face
of the mountain that presided over my youth.
This final errand: to shed over seven states,
through days of unslacking hardwoods
and humid miles of corn, the great weight
of living within the blackened brick walls
of this restless city, and to grow unworn again,
to return as the last bright spark of my prodigal heart
to the bowing lupine and flickering aspen forest
where my broad father, and his before him,
gave his bones back to the everlasting earth.
This poem won first place in the 2010 BYU Studies poetry contest.