John Struloeff

The Foothills

The rain was the least of it.
Pitch stains on our hands,
knuckles bloodied from nicking
engine metal, boots muddy—
each day, we stopped by to knock
on unanswered doors,
when love was an animal
that had become a carcass,
when fathers had steady, gun-ready
eyes and mothers were to contain
somehow the unending storms—here
there was no lightning or thunder,
only wind and the draining of clouds.
Warm drops rolled down our cheeks,
our hands flecked with silver
scales, our fingernails holding grease,
smelling of salmon oils.
I’m putting in extra hours to save up
was how we always began describing
our place near these mountains.

John Struloeff
The Foothills first appeared in The Madison Review (forthcoming).