Anemic late-afternoon sunlight twists, chokes
through the rhododendron tanglewood
as you pull me upward. Birdbone hand clasps
January-cold hand. You crow about your
mountain crest, laced with gods, at odds with the sky.
This view will stagger, you promise.
I stagger to the top, panting, squinting, afraid
to open my eyes fully to an unforgivable vista,
spiked with arthritic, spindly trees. Distant,
odd smoke stacks puff empty as promises
into a blanched sky.
My ashen breath comes in shallow, empty puffs.
You point, but I cannot hear you beneath dead spindles of air.
Tanglewood writhes upward; branches beckon like gods,
whispered promise of flight. You clench tight;
my hand is cold beneath yours
and twisted as a crow claw.