The snow arrived at the mountain peaks

overnight, stopped there,

melted by noon


Old timers called it a dusting,

the last of winter


By four in the fearsome afternoon

the snow soldiers,

shields of sleet in formation,

marched in a line into the valley

conquering meadows, pines and aspens,

crackling branches, penetrating rooftops,

overran the next valley, camped until morning,

left four men mummified in a drift


State troopers blocked the highways

Wood burning stoves knuckled the low clouds

with heavy fists of char

The furious snow moved relentlessly forward

until white took all


The rancher leaning on a pine pole fence

barricaded for days as a boy

in a smoky cabin behind spears of ice

recollects the storm struck

the spring before the summer

he learned to ride horses