Ian Harris

It is a vacation in which we read
novels left in the motel room,
that are part of the motel room’s
square rigger décor.
The room lists all night.

Noon next day I am tossing ice cubes
from my drink one by one into the swimming pool.
Robin is wearing her Joan Didion sunglasses.

* * *

Salt Lake City is at one end of things.
I was born in the LDS hospital
and grew up, ostensibly,

with the world at my fingertips.
It was pale blue antebellum Utah.
And a lot else besides. Fireworks
on the Fourth of July.

Claude Dallas is at one end of things.
Two Idaho Fish & Game officers
hiked down to Bull Camp on reports
of baited traps and poaching, and they told him,

"You can go easy or you can go hard."
And Claude Dallas shot them until they were dead,
and disappeared into the American West.

* * *

I was twelve when I got my first elk,
and we packed out the rack and hide
and left the meat up there in the snow.

The pool lights come on
and we’re reading books in strap-back chairs.
There is a bar up the road called Paradise Bar
in the town of Paradise. Over Barstow the sky is thickening.

* * *

Before they moved in on Dallas,
the Boise and Reno authorities met
at the Thunderbird Motel in Winnemucca.

When they got him at Poverty Flat
there was a helicopter in the sky
and Dallas was lying under his pickup with a .30-30.
He escaped from the penitentiary eight months later

and was caught again at a Stop-N-Go
in the ranchland community of Riverside, California.
He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and carrying
a small bag of groceries. He’d been living at the Skylark Motel
on University Avenue under the alias Al Shrank.

* * *

I look at Robin and she is watching a storm building to the west over Barstow
over the top of her book. There is a swimming pool inside a chain link fence
and then there is desert and more desert and a horse head of a storm.








Claude Dallas killed the Idaho game wardens Bill Pogue and Conley Elms in 1981 when they visited his camp to check on poaching infractions. Dallas was released from prison in 2005.