To Climb The Neck Of Muwadi

by Victor D. Sandiego

It is Grandfather’s idea: take the low road along the water
that encircles the mountain. This enrages me and I smash

his mouth with the back of my head. His teeth in his hands,
he sits on the edge of the bed to comfort me but I want

only to recall what happened last night: my mind is a blank
on how I arrived here in the company of sisters and men.

A blanket covers my modest groin but my wild eyes march back
and forth on a chain. I see the pinnacle through the trees

to the south of the cave at the same time my family abandons
me in their headlong push along the rivers.

Go. I must climb his neck. Like a sharp rock, he pierces the corneal sky
and compels it to downpour a tempest of tears.

Rodents burrow under roots, their crumbs and their thimble hearts dry.
When my candle sinks in a molten pool, I too cry for what I have missed:

the touch of a child hand, the death of a wife. But today, I put one foot
above the other on rock, test my weight against a mountain. From the top,

I see pointy scalps of the forest – and in a misting distance, the expanse
of my birth water that once lapped my feet as I gasped on the white

sea sand. Yes, I may slip and fall. If so, there will be an absolute
free moment of weightlessness when I will count my blessings, curses,

setbacks and triumphs in the pin-wheeling sky, earth and trees
before my breath is slapped from my lungs by the boulder I greet.

And I believe: I will bounce at least once or twice before blue
turns black, and black migrates back up to morning

as an inexpert emerald day in a brand new realm
opens.

This piece first appeared in Prime Number Magazine, June 2011.

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