My heart breaks when I see mountains. I breathe from the very bottom of my lungs, and my stomach pulls inward, like I’m expelling everything I have in me as sacrifice to try and bring me back to that place where my feet sank into the moss covered earth, where I’d reach into the damp ground and pluck a plump mushroom from the soil and shave the edges of its base with my pocketknife. The wolves would howl through the valley, but I slept through it. I can still smell the fire. I remember watching a spider crawl into the flames and feeling empathy to this tiny creature, a kinship, realizing it was time to go.

I’ve spent a year in the tropics, surrounded by palms and saltwater and flatland. Strange places, I’m a stranger. So I come and go as I please without apologies or explanation. I’ve learned to crave peace in a new geography and found solace in the crashing of waves instead of the slow dropping of pine needles and the trickle of creek water. My heart has broken again and again, aged by the unfailing hope of a poet who believes in the divinity of timing and the magic of the moon.

I traded in one kind of wilderness for another. A desert with sprawling sands and cacti reaching towards snow capped mountains in exchange for trees and seas and air that lays so heavy my lungs collapse. The rhythm of my hips sway with the rain and thunder and lightning that pound on the window pane, and I can’t remember Colorado nights like this. But then again, Colorado nights never left my chest feeling quite so heavy and my heart feeling quite so empty.

Mesa Verde, Colorado. December 2013. Original photo. 


Originally written October 18 2017, on my back lanai. 

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