The neighbor is replacing his roof
smothering even more the life that exists
between himself and the sky.
The men he has hired to climb ladders
to make his house taller
sit on his front porch for lunch.
One of their wives has brought them
sandwiches in her van. Why does she come
in honor of lunch, an excuse to break the day in half?
Journey across town, just to wipe
The mustard from his fat top lip.
It’s sweet when she kisses the roofer in the shade
Goodbye and she talks about where she needs to be next.
We started our hike later than we should have.
Noon was breaking and the sky clear.
Past the deep spruce forest only two miles into the hike.
We began the scramble, through a gate only a few were permitted to go.
Karins weren’t so easy to see. For a while
after each blaze we scoured up the red rock
hoping each step was put forth in correct effort.
Moving at the pace of the sun
the top kept moving from us.
Over every false summit
finally seeing tiny black people against the sand and sky.
The effort so tiring was giving hope.
Up the last mile of ash we moved
one step for every two,
sinking into the volcano herself.
In the thirty years since she’d last erupted
new ecosystems were growing.
We climbed young glaciers with our movement
both strong and pervasive.
My boyfriend always two steps taller than me,
leading us over to on top of this landscape.
The physical strain was our gratitude to nature,
our passage into a clear being,
an intuitiveness between the trees,
gravity and our thoughts so easily aligned.
From that height nature opened her mouth,
the center of the volcano still steaming.
Small rocks falling into the cauldron.
Our exhaustive effort giving awe to God,
the sky, the mountains that rose close
enough for us to see and name.
We were more thankful with our physical effort behind us.
And at that height, of first climbing a mountain,
a living volcano, the boy asked me to marry him.
I was Looking
Tired legs in the middle of August,
but I write from deep December
said yes to India
Let her float me away in the beautifully adorned air balloons.
I stared up, stared far, and let the unsettling faults dissolve from me.
It began to snow this morning
let me stay to myself
different from yesterday
to be kept in only one day
Today is suddenly more special
stumbling on something
I forgot existed.
I go to this land of beauty
and boxes of gold
to leave something
let them know I was looking
Like snow on cars and streets
I see where they were walking
when they were driving.
And I enjoy knowing
more than I should.