PARADISE WAITS

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.

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