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.
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