Uphill

A view from above.

Patches of grass and weeds

Illuminated by bright clouds

Huddled over the village;

A roof of soft moisture

Pierced here and there

By spears with gilded shafts.

I climb through barbed wire

Down by the railroad tracks

And through a tunnel

To reach a mountain god

And tread upon his skin.

The flesh was soft and filled

With specks of grey and white.

Large bones jutted from beneath,

Host to patches of lichen

Glowing starkly

Beneath my feet.

Sharp inclines and spotty paths

Lined with berry bushes

Yielding fruit

Not yet ripe,

So I leave the berries,

Sometimes climbing down

In order to climb up.

A delicate dance

With intricate steps

Guide me through cracks

And along precipices;

Steadying hands lay

Upon somber stones

Bent neatly to guide me

To the summit.

I gaze upon what was conquered

While the god bows before me,

As I once before it.

Rolling green and winding browns

Cascade across my vision

To form my understanding

Of what I was

At that moment.

From high to low,

Above and below,

I carry the dirt

On my soles

Not as a transient

Or an alien,

But as one who breathes

The same rhythm

As the mountain god.

Composed 06/09/2012

Author’s Note: I went hiking with my fellow trainees one weekend up a hill on the outskirts of our little village. I remember that the only light jacket I had with me was a blazer. Everyone else was wearing windbreakers, hiking jackets, hoodies, but I alone scaled the heights in a fancy jacket. One of our host sisters came wearing flats. I don’t think she had a good time.

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The Wooden Home (Poetry)

Have You Visited God? (Prose)

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Shaving Lesson (Poetry)

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