When the dog, at last, is satisfied, we descend
from the highest peak we’ve dared test our spikes
on, a moderate hill in the park where others in boots
have pressed a system for feet in the ice trails.
As a matter of consistency, we hike, pause
at the overlook for photos, turn to view the entire
mountain bowl, the ice unfurled across the water.
The hang gliders jump again at the chalet; they dawdle
across the soccer fields, a beautiful inflation
settling at the tree line. The dog favors them.
The trouble is, the mountains aren’t metaphors,
or the dog, or the ice. They are not windows or guides,
chutes to the next place we want. In coming to mourn,
we avoid it. We can only eliminate the trails
around us, one by one, for slick danger. All wrapped
together in hills, the low land and slush is ours.
In trees hemming the park from the water, eagles volley
cry after cry across plate glass pavement. Past a basketball
frozen in the net, icicles lace pick-ups to the ground
and ravens line little shops with murals. In the coffee house,
I nestle with books in a chair by the vaulted window, pocked
by a hole the size of a tangerine, or a beak, I suppose,
the remaining pane cracked in joint as though strangely grafted.
The heat rambles out in wisps, like the hikers tracing
the ridge just prodding through deep fog. In an hour,
the eagles have met in one tree, still squalling at the bay.