Everest

Everest

“…since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity (…)

overtakes you like a storm…”             Proverbs 1:25-27

Icefalls—
freezing streams of tears
formed in the weather of her own invention—

rip a hidden dominion
of chasms
beneath

this Mecca we faithfully revisit
upon surviving each prior pilgrimage
& restless penance at base camp.

No snow-blind bid for ascension
will leave its trace upon this cruel, white slate,
as cold-pierced flesh, violated senseless, chases

the gossamer promise of substantiation
in the biting night silence,
scaling massive vertical icy rises that crest

on the barren horizon, as intimate as distant;
in this alien nest we recognize
lies the black womb’s waif—

the silky red dawn
drawing its first cerulean-cradled breath—
heralding the bloody miracle of life & death.

So tiny are these pitons & ropes
we follow toward willful, brutal injury—
they mark the fabled way through

this bone-strewn wilderness
to the sun-frozen summit,
her brimming lids blinking in feigned oblivion,

now hiding her sinister eyes,
now revealing
contrived glimpses of rapture.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

 

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