I am going up ahead now

into mountains

to the north.

I don’t have to be a poet

but to those

for whom a verse is

wind in wings,

water in gills.

Religion has loosed its grip on me

as have the more common contrivances

and life’s little idolatries.

It is I who holds them

too close to the heart



up to the sun

so on the shadow side

they bleed color and light

into my world.

We will soon meet again

at timberline

where rivers are born.

If love is more

than quaint sentimentality

it will find us whole and holy both

when ascent is no longer a triumph and

when we


have forgotten why

we ever needed to feel understood.

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