Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poem: Vernal


Built entirely of motion
hydro, oxy, Newton’s apple
glacial knife, geologic freak show
flight     freedom     fall

A beautiful Assyrian girl hops
the rail for a photo, for
proof: the arduous climb, the
buzz of Yosemite, a hundred
granite steps

The water is merry, bucolic,
a lie.

What follows is anyone’s guess:
slick of algae, worn
spot on a shoe, loose rock

Her two male friends try to save her.
Two weeks later, they have
yet to find the bodies.

Late at night, the hikers give
way to bats and bears.
A lone figure approaches the
rail, reaches into a granite
slot and pulls a switch

The water drops away like a severed curtain,
lands with a ropy smack,
drains off toward Modesto

He drinks the silence,
takes a glance at
Half Dome’s broad shoulder and
sets his watch for five.

From the collection Fields of Satchmo
Photo by MJV

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