Up through the hills
the morning fog rises
she says it’s from the rabbits’ fires
as they cook their morning meal
or from the flared nostrils of a slumbering dragon
her mountainous back dappled with pines  

she taught me to keep my stitches tight
and my pans greased
tucked away out of sight
to make a perfect pone
not cut

she let me talk sharp
my hair flying like wild fire
about my sunburned face

but she kept her tongue 
and woke early
to roll her mousey locks

she taught me how to heave a saddle
to ride with light hands
how it was safe to walk behind my horse
but never a man

how to pack everything you own
into a single truckload
and look back often
even when you shouldn’t  

I found her restless traits
strewn about like little pebbles
gathering them in my pockets
weighing down my temper  

I hear her words in my mind
and remember to tuck away my pieces
somewhere my children can’t find