Not every day but most days that summer I went calmly and quietly and climbed to the sixth floor of the library and walked not fast and not slow but with purpose down the last row and reached almost without looking to the same place on the shelf and pulled out the large book and carried it to a chair that looks out toward the ridge, to a mountain that is there, whether it is or it isn’t, the mountain people love, maybe for this, love and die with all their love, trying, and I opened to the page where I left off before, and sometimes the library announced it was closing, sometimes I got hungry, sometimes it looked like rain, and I’d close the book and carry it again, with purpose, back to its exact place on the shelf, and I’d walk down the stairs and out of the building, and it was like I’d left it ticking.
On the day they killed the last caribou, I was in love—and I did not know caribou or cities or the needs of either. I did not know scilla, and did not know a new love would be hired to trim the grass around it. The blue flowers came up through the grass like the grass remembering. This new love and I, we drove once between cities of snow, and through the trees I could see a herd moving, matching us, pulling away.