52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2. Vast

Vast, says the hiker, on the crest of the pass,
looking below into the John Muir Wilderness,
westward, where a thread of a trail between
small lakes makes its way deep into the vast
interior of the Central Sierra Nevada.

A pair of women have ascended from there
and meet the hiker at the summit, passing by him,
bear whistles in their shoulder straps with each step
clicking, wearing wide-brimmed hats, one
in shorts with cargo pockets, both in boots.

The hiker is with his son and carries in his pack
both his and his son's gear. His son wears a hat
and carries a water bottle. The son is young
enough to ask what vast means. That, says
his father, gesturing. Big. Beautiful. Something

that makes us seem small from a distance.
Where those women came from? the boy asks.
Is that where we're going? Not today, I said.
The hiker was me, a version of me. You'd asked
for a story. The son is you. Was you. Is.

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