The Seasons Only Borrow Us


There is the moon, its silver hum

filling the valley. There are the wings

of the hummingbird joined in their velocity

at first light, cloud of wing

suspended beside the column

of ruby water.

There are the beaten

boards of the deck finally emerging

from old snow, and the sun

sharpening itself on the cold

stone of the ridge–


all day, it scoops more snow

from Kachina Peak to reveal

grey rock and the few

tiny leaves that can breathe

in thin air. No one

walks those tightrope

heights after the last skier

has relinquished whatever bravado

moved him to leave his

lit rooms at dawn and spend

all day in wind dark with ice.


There is the apple tree–

its snow of new blossoms–

and old snow shrinking from the ridge

where I, too, climbed with

skis on my back and water barely

unfrozen enough to drink.

Already I’m up there again, this time

with compass and binoculars, seeking

a familiar house and vanished deck,

tree emptied of fruit,

glass column emptied of rubies.


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