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Kurt Sobolik


Suppose you take an off-ramp along I-90 and drive the frontage road awhile noticing various mobile homes long immobilized and sporting a fenced yard, a defiant garden, a weathered lawn gnome, a battered vehicle or two parked nearby. You’ve entered Kurt Sobolik county and you’re about to meet some very intriguing people. Humble yet assured in their ways of dealing with the cards life has slapped before them, they’re the folks who keep America going, and Sobolik does a fine job of singing their ballads in this great collection of poems.

David E. Thomas, author of Afternoon Stroll,

Buck’s Last Wreck and The Hellgate Wind  

From the book:

on the hoof

we moved out to the country a few years

ago and after watching a few YouTube

videos decided to buy a young steer and

put our overgrown pasture to use.

problem is neither the wife nor i grew

up processing our own meat so

not only do we not know how to butcher

an animal we’ve gone and done what

we said we wouldn’t and gotten attached

to him. Sammy the Steer, formerly known

as Steer #9501, likes having his cheeks

scratched and, if he sees us, he’ll low at

us until we give him some attention.

the girls like sitting on his back and loving

on him and i often find myself leaning

on the fence talking to him while he chews

his cud and swishes his tail at flies.

it’s also worth mentioning that we’ve

introduced more beans and lentils to our

diet which is probably a telltale sign

that we’re failing to fully embrace our

carnivorous natures. some folks might

call that consciousness. others might call

it cowardliness. all i know is that we probably

shouldn’t have started with a mammal

with such large, expressive eyes and such

a gentle, trusting nature. even if i can

will myself to shoot young Sammy between

those eyes i’m not so sure how edible

we’ll find him once he fills our as yet

unpurchased freezer especially after he’s

been following us around like a dog

for the past year. but winter’s coming

so we have to decide whether to purchase

enough hay and feed to push him over

the 1000-pound mark by spring or sell him

to someone who is ultimately more suited

for the deed. as much as the girls and

i would like to keep Sammy for a pet, we

just can’t afford him without some sort

of payout at the end. kindergarten teacher

plus claims adjuster does not equal Lifestyles

of the Rich and Famous and we’ve already

taken on more mortgage then we should

have just to call this place our own.  

now what started as a purely economic

decision to raise affordable beef has turned

into a soul-searching determination of

who we are. do we kill and eat Sammy

ourselves or do we sell our bovine pet

to someone more accepting of his end.

it’s a decision we can’t afford to run from.

lives hang in the balance. we accept that.

i just wish we would’ve done like a neighbor

suggested and went with chickens first.

Kurt Sobolik lives near Alberton, MT, where he has a fine view of Cinderella Mountain and the Bighorn Sheep that occasionally make themselves known there. He enjoys building compost and each year manages to coax a few vegetables out of the ground. His other hobbies include reading, walking, and napping.  This is his first book.


is a 100 page hand-stitched paperbook w/spine - $16.00

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Montana Poets Series #4

Mark Gibbons, Editor