The Mountain Without a Shadow, or, Unfinished Business
I once walked past your front yard.
You waved me in.
Something appeared on the horizon when you looked out your living room window that day.
You had to show me.
A mountain, overnight, bricked itself in the firmament, cemented tight by cloud.
“Look!” you say.
“I did not see that yesterday, but when I woke up today, there it was!”
I felt the boulder stack more than I could see it, but yes,
it was there.
The way you can see a brain tumor in faltered speech.
You poured us each clear spirits in Mason jars and invited me to sit
outside on lawn chairs.
Together we watched the sun compete with stone.
The sun did not appreciate this new roadblock, it lamented.
“What do you think you are doing here? Can’t you see, I have
somewhere to be?”
The mountain sat mute.
The sun tried its work, this way and that, up, down, but was in a cul-de-sac.
It was then that we realized that mountain did not cast a shadow.
Its weight, without shade. Its demeanor, soundless.
But deep inside a fissure in its craggy side, we heard an old voice sing.
It was so familiar, I could smell my Mother,
It was so innate to my bones, I could feel my Grandfather move under the ground.
A song of displacement.
Of fallen soldiers,
and decapitated forests.
Most of all, it sang about its persistent thirst.
Parched and filled with yester-dust.
A silo throat devoid of unharvested maize.
This song of yearning urged us to get up and emptied our Mason jars.
Pouring the clear spirits onto the soil, seeping away.
As the mountain drank from our jars and right before it faded, we stood for a tick in its newborn shadow.
All that remained was the backside of the sun on its way.