Hillwalking, by Kate MacQueen
We could see a long distance from the beginning
to the curvature where the path slipped into
another vista. What we could not see changed
perspective: tumbled dragon bones and teeth,
each a small slant hill or cliff to scramble over,
a land where ancient glaciers scraped life
down to the bare boulders. Hewn steps twisted
up through the Window, that least of passes,
shaped to the stride of giants. It was daunting
to clamber back that way while on the other side
rolling slopes of heather and a grassy way carpeted
the unknown. Then the slope began to steepen.
Shoe-wide gaps opened deep in the purple blooms.
We felt the shape of the world beneath each step,
judged how it would hold or twist the weight
of human presence. Still, the air was clear.
The sweep of the hillside carried on,
carried us and a hundred rivulets of water
murmuring the way to a loch in blue repose.
Kate MacQueen lives and writes along New Hope Creek in North Carolina. Her short-form work (mainly haiku and related forms) has appeared in a variety of publications including Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, Frogpond, Acorn, Prune Juice, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Fell Swoop, and Exquisite Corpse. As a social scientist, her longer non-poetic work can be found in a variety of scientific journals.
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