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Friday, August 20, 2010


by Molly Meacham

Briton Peter Kinloch dies after reaching summit of Everest --The Times

I’ve collected mountains
since I was 8. Pictures
at first. Everest taped
to the wall by my bed.

I made mountains
of everything. Paper,
sand, toys, cardboard.
In piles, in jars,
in corners of my room.

Climb is the stretch
and pull of limbs,
the tango of air
with wall or ground.

How much harder the hike
with closed eyes. My stomach
rolled when sight went, when floor
lurched. I climbed table
to door. Arms and legs
became antennae. I braced
for fall.  It never came.

I knew the risks she offered.
I was not toothless. I had nails.

Mount Everest is the blind
search of hand and foot
for another safe hold.

The peak is a knife-point
at the wrists of the sky.

They thought it was the snow
at first. My team. We had taken
our victory photographs. When
fate wrapped her hands
over my face. Surprise.

Death is the hourglass
draining mountains of sand
or the child’s hand
pressing mud flat against stone.

They took me home to you,
my accomplishment still smiling
in their cameras. Put me on the wall,
but don't cry. I have become part
of the climb: my muscle, fresh soil—
my bones, new stone. I am another precipice
in the mountain that made me.

Molly Meacham  is a member of the Speak'Easy Poetry Ensemble.  They performed in Germany for the Bertolt Brecht Festival. Molly has read her poetry across the US and in Australia.  She has published with Dew on the Kudzu, Foundling Review, and Right Hand Pointing.  She teaches in a Chicago Public School the rest of the time.