Over scree, up the rock face,
we climb between sorrel and saxifrage,
against the call of gravity, the force
that assembles all beauty up to the highest edge
where steep winds sheer clouds over the peak
of everything we shall never conquer. But down here,
within our reach, water rains down, sloping
an outcrop of glistening rock, and the hard decision
to stop and finally look. We turn there,
at the water top, and inhale the vertiginous view.
The valley’s long expanse invites us,
a proposal that starts a lifetime together
like ours: the slow promise of growth,
the need to take root, admire the pine
clinging a step from the drop. In the distance,
where someone decides to camp
and start their fire, a finger of smoke
pokes the clouds. It’s what they make
of their days and nights on a common ground.
It all goes out and returns, like a red-tailed hawk
circling back to this vantage where we stand,
while between us swirls a curtain of spray,
flaked sunlight scattered and rising
from the endless tumble and roar.
Michael T. Young had his third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water (Terrapin Books, 2018), long-listed for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. Young received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared in numerous journals, including Atticus Review, Gargoyle Magazine, One, Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.