Talcott Mountain

Tramping over talus and roots of hemlock,

mud and dirt, my mongrel and I endeavor,

up this winding ribbon, to reach a summit

looking at Hartford.

Imitating rust-covered swings, two voices

echo off great hickory, oak, and boulders.

Maybe they’re observing us as we listen,

lucky to hear them.

Both my hands push firmly against a birch trunk,

lifeless. Then it quivers as if a mallet

struck a log drum, puffing white powder at me,

wanting my pity.

Wilbur spots a huge, iridescent creature,

hurtles like a meteor rushing Saturn,

pulls up at the edge of a lofty rock face,

losing the turkey.

From the cliff we look at the soaring raptors,

black as thunderheads and as minatory.

Lounging on the rocks, we can see the far-off

hillocks protected

by the mists of distance and time, green bosoms

floating on the planet’s asthenosphere like

clouds that wander over us—all our moments

coming and going.

Early saxifrage, with its sticky leaves, trap

insects which have tickled the mountain’s derma.

Roots crack rock as if they were drilling dentin.

Now we must leave it.

After resting muscles and lungs and heartbeats,

we descend this mountain of clotted lava,

reddish as a rust-covered hunk of metal,

down to the clear lake.

Heublein Tower, perched on the mountain’s apex,

watches as we hop in a cozy Buick,

roll down to our valley, and look back at it

winking like Venus.

(Appeared in The Chimaera.)