Holding the Mountain Together/Before you Climb

1 August 2017

I will glue the mountain cracks
with wildflowers and flayed feathers,

place my palm on the sun-stroked face
to affirm the ridge’s jaw hasn’t slackened.

I will learn to mimic the raven’s kraa,
to retreat snakes back into their skins,

cake mud to seal them for another winter.
I will re-chant my grandfather’s warning—

that even the most stoic crumble under enough
weight— (his lips in front of his father’s gin-fist)

–this wall of petroglyphs after rain
that hammered for days, keys to its decrescendo.

But you are still tucked
under a sheet of rocks, despite.


Driving to the hospital, I see a woman in her bathrobe
picking goat head blooms into a box of tissues,

wondering what kind of breaks their lemon color
might be holding together.

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