freelance writer, photographer and guide
A Day to Die
When he leaves the hands of heaven
will they cry, hold vigil like we do
when one of us leaves earth?
Will they console one another with promises
of a better place for him?
Do they even know where he is going
or have they just heard about the light
at the end of the birth canal?
I'm sure they will miss him.
Living or non-living
without someone you love has to be hard
no matter where you are,
especially if you're not sending them
to that 'better place'.
Is that finally-at-peace line used there
as the child makes the exchange to
where he must learn to live despite life?
In all the near-death experience tales
no one talks about a swift slap to the rear-end
to start your breathing. Perhaps
that is only a local custom, a foreshadowing
of what we have entered.
In my pain I will cry out,
matching a different voice to those he leaves
but the moment of exchange will pass
he will be here and I will whisper for them,
"I have him now, he is in my arms
and this is a very good place."
If they had not expelled themselves from Eden,
today would be just another ethereal day
in the garden of light.
Another day of wholeness, unification.
But Eve, scared as she was, took death in her teeth,
split the world in two,
took the sudden breath of separateness
from man, from God, the duality of good and evil.
So much in a bite.
Perhaps she sat with this loss like a pebble in her mouth,
shifting it from side to side,
trying not to swallow it, be swallowed by it.
Sitting among wispy dead grasses, cold rock slabs,
planting a son back into the dust.
Do you suppose she ever rolled the pebble
off her tongue, let it fall back to earth?
Tetons, Jackson, Wyoming
Sometimes it's just the smell
even the pummel of a hundred hooves
through a dark, marinated in moon
is not as powerful
even their hulking shapes
shadows lunging in flight
close enough to feel
their passing in the air
is not more,
and that quickly
they are gone, like a dream.
I take deep breaths
try to keep them close
like children I don't want to lose.
I stare hard after them
through a night only the mountains
can hold, knowing tomorrow
it will be difficult
to remember raw elk,
and the smell of their sweat.