SHE LOVES THE MOUNTAIN, BY LLEWELLYN MCKERNAN

She loves the mountain she has to climb.

Each step is a leg up, a joyous cry

from the straining muscles that strengthen her thighs.

Each stone she walks on tells her it’s wise.

Her soles grow tough, her sweat sublime

To have or have not is on the line

On one side’s a wood full of touch-me-nots

where old men sleep with the bride of thoughts.

On the other’s a desert, lightening- bright,

full of instant replays just out of sight.

Snow freckles the sky with its dots and dash.

Below it’s sunny, and armies clash.

The blood in her wrist aches with vision.

The marrow in her bones makes a decision.

She stretches her arms, her thumbs and fingers.

The dead weight of her body rounds and lingers

on a crumbling cliff-hanger till a passionate air

winds its reedy song about the roots of her hair,

And puffs of hot smoke from the guns below

scorch of her buttock —and— up she goes!

Breathless and briery, and buttery thin

her body collapses to pearls and gems.

On this plateau everything moves

to the stately rhythms of a rare perfume.

When she looks back, all she can find

are prints in mud leading her to a mine

with a mouth small as the buzzing of a bee,

telling her the truth about you and me.

A cedar ruffles its pale blue spokes.

The clouds of the sky shine as they molt.

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