Jennifer Bullis

In That Time of Skiing I Was Always Wrong
by Jennifer Bullis

Though the twisting road to the peak
was clear and dry, I labored through deep snow,
lost and out of season, hurrying to find my angry family

while the earthmovers rumbled nearer.
By a small magic of my skis, I searched the moguls,
the lodge, the ice fields stained by the brown breath

of the valley’s industries. High in that bowl of snow,
my fear threw me off cornices. I strained to traverse faces
precipice-steep. Where were they? My family

must have been riding up a chairlift while I sought them
one gully over. Or they schussed below me while I
was trapped in the stopped gondola. Brief euphoria

seized my hard plastic boots during moments
when I forgot the mountain was about to lose
its cap and its coal. I sailed through silk-

powdered fir groves, accelerated, whooping,
off boulders, and landed afluff. Out of breath,
I caught the next chair to lift me, tried to rest,

scanned the slope for those who I supposed might yet
forgive me. Meanwhile a tiny god frozen to my ear
whispered, This is real, this is real, this is.

The more he insisted, the less I believed him.
Soon I could sense my mind unhitch
from the sturdy cable suspending me

above the snow, and no longer could I feel anything
except my face, the pale sun and the blue wind,
beginning to gust black, particulate.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Jennifer BullisJennifer Bullis grew up in Reno, earned a Ph.D. in English at UC Davis, and taught college writing and literature in Bellingham, Washington, for fourteen years. Her first collection of poems, Impossible Lessons, was published by MoonPath Press in 2013.

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