Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Burroughs Peak

August in Seattle.
“Chance of showers”
turns to dismal drizzle.
Some summer, this.
I’d rather curse the darkness than light a damn candle
so I rev the engine,
head for the mountain in the clouds.

Driving the lonesome road,
living an ad for Rai-
I wish Amanda were here.

Past the tollbooth, the winding curves
to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Boots crunch on gravel.
Cool air, matterhorn peaks.
So steep, treetops nearly kiss the slope.
From the water bottle a breath escapes.

I climb and climb,
find little lakes
hear marmot squeaks
stop to sample pine needle scents.
Fingers sticky from a snack.
Chipmunks nibble and scamper.

Boot steps fall to the rhythm
of syncopated strings–
a Turkish diva sings
pop songs in my head.
And I haven’t broken a sweat yet,
stopping so damn much to scribble!
But I came here to get away.
Keep going,
keep breathing.

Path rises into tundra,
steeper now, and narrow.
Water droplets on my cheek
but it’s not rain –
it’s a cloud
carressing the ridge,
the mountain's skin and my own.

Two fingers on my jugular vein
feel the blood course;
red and orange flowers
burst among fragile grasses,
give way to wet black stone
adorned with green lichens’ glow.

Nothing now, but breathing shrouds,
the narrow path, and stones,
all else disappears at a short distance
‘til the sky throws down
a shaft of sun,
falling on the Emmons Glacier
rolling off the shoulders
of these hulking wonders.

Is that rushing sound
the wind
or the river?

I wonder.

At the stony peak
I find the answer.

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