IceFloe Press

“Butte, America” – Poems and photos by M.S. Evans

American Ego

We collect stories,
lithographic lies.
Postcards of fairgrounds,
ecstatic faces,
wildernesses of vintage evergreen
conquered without consequence.

Blithe knives,
we see ourselves through shot glasses,
a settler’s drunken dream.

Hair Pipe House

Sun-burnished blinds
sagging
from a sternum string,
make a hair pipe breastplate.

A declaration of worth
for the street.

Red Shadows

I search my neighborhood
for the radicals
who shot back,
blew up
the toothless union hall.

Drum my fingertips
on gingham-curtained kitchens.

Listen,

splintered wood,
soft brick.

Roll rough Yiddish,
like bone dice
against a home’s foundation.

Leave a calling card;
shiny pennies on the tracks.

Snow’s Secrecy

Snow arrives as a ghost,
tiptoes
through your house on a mission.

Lurks,
halfway up alleys,
huddles in doorways,
planning, scheming.

Timberline , Montana

The Rockies speak flotsam:
worn glass, lone marbles.
Sun-bleached
timber, dry as driftwood.

Sagebrush
waves, dust-green leaves,
dreams of bladderwrack’s beauty.

Butte

The spirits here don’t suffer from hiraeth;
they laugh, and sing
along Silver Street.

At the corner, catching on sleeves,
like spiderwebs,
like dear friends.

Arm-in-arm,
down alleys,
past mansions, mummified shacks,
the blue-shuttered windows of a brothel,
we tumble.

I whisper
Welsh words, half-forgotten,
a path
through sun-purpled glass.

The only hurry in boom town,
are bustling, glad ghosts.

Smiling,
turning up the collars on fine winter coats.

Permanent Migrant

In exile,
in a private parlor,
blue smoke curls,
ingrown.

The distance between loved ones
stretches out,
ungiving tombstone.

You’re offered a gambler’s bet,
a sleight of hand,
novelty cowboy hats.
Telephone calls on gritty lines,
accents sounding stronger over time.

All that remains,
dusk’s weak light
between sparse alders.

List of Image Titles:

1. Bluebird Altar (Banner)
2. Agate Street Roofs
3. Twilight
4. Repair
5. Worn Wall
6. Comet Cabin
7. Ruin – Workshop
8. Mile High
9. Labyrinth
10. Abandoned House on Broadway
11. Lexington Headframe
12. Cracked Windscreen


M.S. Evans is a writer and visual artist. Originally from Seattle, she currently lives in her family’s old town of Butte, Montana. Her work has been published in Re-Side, and is soon to appear in Black Bough Poetry. Twitter: @SeaNettleInk  Instagram: @permacrust

Page design and edits: Robert Frede Kenter.