ABOVE THE EDGE OF STEEP

A gray sea laps the foothills, fills the Valley, creates
islands of mountain tops above the muffled sounds
of humanity, we can’t see, moving along the road

below. The rumbling crush of rock, farther off,
where creek greets river, where diesel engines
load and groan to the highway running deeper

towards the flatlands into fog. Warm above the shoreline,
we squint into the sun as naked oaks washed in drifting
mists become submerged, reach-out crying for a hand

before the last limb is engulfed – and we become
Jeffers’ horsemen above the Coast Road, hooves wet
with green, listening to the busyness of progress

bubbling-up. I watched the silhouette of a man
swing a sledgehammer in the fog when I was young,
at the peak of his arc before the sound of his last blow

reached me – and so it is off these narrow ropes
of blacktop. We are that horseman’s children still
riding higher, climbing towards the clear and timeless,

where the voices before us can whisper in sleep,
where trees and rocks dance with hawks, and we
sing poetry around a fire above the edge of steep.

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