When I go traveling
in my mind to get away
from shit, I climb the mountain
above Alberton, scramble up to
it—the meadow that sits atop those sheer cliffs
overlooking the Clark Fork River.
Only game trails lead there—each approach
a steep trek. My senior year I scaled
those rocks—stone teeth of the Ice Age—
wanted to run away from myself.
Wedged halfway up a crevice, I knew
it was a mistake, another macho risk,
some dumb-ass “prove-it” invincibility
test. My only choice: keep going—don’t
look back, don’t turn around
or admit vertigo—inch forward,
breathe, know what you can do—focus, move
ahead. I decided there were no mistakes that day—
paradise waits for heroes & fools.
Years ago someone started building
a small cabin up there: square, four walls,
three logs high—a doorway facing south.
Summer hikes, I’d pause at the edge
of the meadow to catch my breath & watch—
imagine a young woman waving
for me to follow her inside
that unfinished house, unbutton her
dress & blouse under the ceiling of blue sky.
Like beasts we’d lie naked on the cabin floor,
flattening the tall bunch grass. I’d smell
sun in her hair, pine needles
warm against our skin, then lick
salt from her neck & breasts, feel a sweat
bead trickle down my back as her fingertips
brushed my flanks—before nails caught & scratched.
I’d sip, drink long from her swollen mouth,
listen to the rhythm of our quickening breaths.
We’d tear up roots, cry out, push
hard into earth & empty ourselves—
what it was we couldn’t hold
in that idyllic meadow—
the echoing explosions of summer.