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240 American Zebra: Praise Song for the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Hagerman, Idaho Diane Raptosh I like how, when I look out on this desert Idaho plain, I can pretty much graze my palm on the Pliocene— and doing so, greet the great wide savannahs of Africa— mossy and tree lined, laced in saber-toothed cats, hyena-like dogs and a half caravan of even-toed camels. I like how when I look upon these bluffs, I have to leave off acuity— level all spectacle, un-specimen Earth. Even so, here blows another tumbleweed. Be careful with that match! Hear it now, skeletal frolic of O’s: It’s fine how this lookout offers no viewfinder. So I must mesh with the idea of what might have been the lontraweiri, Hagerman’s mystery otter, nearly four million years ago. Should I not add this riverine creature was named for singer Bob Weir? 241 I have to admit I am way, way thankful he fathered the Grateful Dead, which helped bring us hippies, sideburns shaped into states of Idaho. These, plus those love-ins we never quite had down in Nampa, where I grew up, 117 miles from here. It all instilled what I will call gratitude’s latitude— bones of articulate hope. I like how standing still in this place serves to remind that every epochal zone clearly inheres in us. Notice. Most people only look for what they can see. Oh, Great Dane-ish Hagerman Horse. Maybe you’re Africa’s own Grévy's zebra. Should I not grab you here in this wayfaring now—and stiffly by the mane— to say yes, of course, I am indebted? I’m here at this look-out— the long meanwhile, whole Snake River histories molted and soaked in then found their shot to break free to the bone layer under that soil-load dubbed by the digging biz overburden. Listen here, visitor. Lay your troubles down once and for everyone. And say can you see—hey, 242 here’s some binoculars: What kind of place will we be when I cross over into you and you cross over into me? ...


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