There’s cresting Quandary Peak, oh mountain
of the human condition. There’s Mt. of the Holy Cross
roped in rain and fog so thick we missed
the glacial cross Longfellow’s sonnet made famous
for a slim generation’s attention span. There’s
summiting Mt. Elbert when Deb was pregnant,
our daughter earning her first peak in utero,
or was it months before when part of us crossed
over to her? Those times I rose above
some other worldly body. I stood at the edge,
still do, my breath fast and shallow,
nose pressed against the thin scrim
that gives a little and thus gives nothing,
oh scrim between the known and not,
oh lousy metaphor for death –
this a problem and the beauty we inhabit,
or do I mean embody?
Look, he hung there, my brother, beak-stuck
and sun-stroked, begging one more chance,
anthem of those who sigh Oh way too often.
He’d nearly crossed over but to what?
Plucked free, he feasted on sugar water,
iridescent electric trembling, pilgrim and homeboy.
And what of his crested moments?
There’s trumpet flower till its red throat wilts silent.
There’s monkshood before it folds to seeds’ reprieve —–
how these things we love add up, oh tweedle dee,
as they count down.