At their feet, I must leave home—
the house, the canyon, to see them.
At the overpass between Exeter
and Visalia, when at cloudy dawn
they became my mother’s rumpled
bedclothes as she courted death,
the Sierras cloaked in a gossamer mist
that embraced me. Or just south
of Lemon Cove, up the Kaweah’s long,
open throat, sharp-toothed peaks
of granite scree reach for the sky,
changing moods in every light.
A man must have mountains
to shed the nonsense to get to—
a distant and steep ascent
for the spirit, soul and flesh—
a place safe to wander fire to fire,
star to star, to drink from snowmelt.
Wide arms open, they welcome me
as I come home from town
to lay down at their wrinkled feet.