At Three Island Crossing

3 island crossing

After a grueling uphill climb

achieved by brute force

of man and beast,

immigrants descended

a steep diagonal slope

to the banks of the Snake River

at Three Island Crossing,

wheels clanking against

rocks and wagon parts

groaning and straining.

At the crossing,

an army of asses

brayed like insistent foghorns

punctuated by squawky gasping hiccups;

horses snorted and whinnied,

shying back from the river’s edge;

becrazed oxen bellowed feverishly;

and desperate men

cursed and shouted and coaxed

to keep the wagons upright

in the roiling waters.

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

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