SageGreenJournal.org voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Fiction writer & poet, Claudia frequently writes about the world and the creatures she sees outside her windows and encounters while hiking and skiing. Her chapbook, Wild Thing in Our Known World, is available from Finishing Line Press.
I saw you floating through snow
light as the snowshoe hare
who in terror leapt before you.
I miss that snow and the winds
it came in on. The work it made:
the hungering woodstove,
driveway shoveling, the daily ski
from my door to your mountain.
The storm blue of the spruce.
They said you were extinct then,
not yet reintroduced. But
I saw you; you looked straight at me.
Dear mother, I am sorry it was we three
who stood round and prayed,
while the eyes of your little one
glazed and you were barred
by the road, by your terror
even of us. We could only hope
our coos sounded like those
all mothers make, our tender
touches the strokes all mothers
use to soothe even those
wounds we know God
averts his own eyes from.
Dear mother, some small things
are carried through desperate
months, are borne in agony
into lovely green springs,
dance into dappled sunlight,
only to die a hard metal death.
We three women who stopped,
who carried your little one,
still thrashing, to the grass,
who bloodied our hands and our skirts,
and waited till her pain was gone,
we knew yours was not.
We too are animals, dear mother.
(Rocky Mountain National Park, June)
Just past this last, dusty scab
the tundra rolls open,
lichen-green, flowered blue and yellow.
Elk, newly ascended, paralleling
our turns as if our joy were theirs.
Ladybugs riding our sleeves,
our hair. We’re suspended
within a thorny crown: the Indian
Peaks, the Never Summer Range,
still guarding small glaciers.
Sunburn. Whisper of rivulets
beneath the snow:
Sweat down our backs
like the chuckling meltwater,
one boot kicking above
the other, eighteen hundred
steps to the top of America,
sun glinting on relentless cars,
on our Jeep at the pullover.
Skis strapped to our packs,
we vault from the boulder field.
Startled tourists snap photos
as if we were wildlife.
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