anti-ode to the heart
by Mary Rose Manspeaker
one car passes through the heart of the mountain.
i try to measure their speed
to ours, twisting the seatbelt with my body. i crane
forehead against glass. here,
there is only passing on
asphalt in ever-broader strips. the crags,
evenly spaced, scales
the earth formed when first we blasted rock aside.
hillsides blown clean & stripped. their bare, bare peaks.
where these mountains cower
back toward their siblings, the trees
begin to gray, branches gripped in white
cocoons, tent worms eating the world
just to be reborn, inseparable from the smoke
rising above mountain
mines & rigs. back home
the mountains bore witness to my first kiss.
they had little choice, anchored tighter to ground than i,
no language to tell them they are not the whole cracked earth,
despite the names i call them.
these words poor hybrids of the earth & my dreams
of it. the car that drove clear through them
moored now on concrete slabs
& from their height, with their worn-down trees
the buttercups which ring my house in bloom,
all blooming ash.
Image credit: Jeremy Bishop