The High Peaks

after the blood-beat
of 10,000 trochaic breaths 

it must be asked 
is not a gale coursing along 

the fractured fringes of a ridge
with its serrated fins flared out 

not some aeolian wind 
sent by the gods to haunt 

the spindly spires 
and gnarled notches 

of glacial-carved 

just as those atmospheric currents
swirled around the dragon-like

forces forming cirque 
after cirque

eons ago
along the continental divide

with it’s ghostly moan 
that’s almost human 

—they say such winds
whirl around the whorls 

of the flute pan dropped 
while leaving Earth for a spell

somewhere on a flank
of The Two Guides

a keyboard
they call it

and if the tones 
ever find the right frequency

the whole spine of the rockies 
just might shiver awake 

for a few seconds
reminding us 

why a palpable power purrs
from mountains who are asleep 

Sandhill Crane Migration

driving to arrive 
at the jasper-pulaski wildlife area 

an hour before dusk 
on a mid-november day 

crisp with a cold edge 
of crusted frost 

that snuck under our skin 
to feed on our bones

the whole way thinking 
they may not be there 

glancing out the window
every which way 

trying to glimpse something 
even as we turned  

into the parking lot
with the observation tower 

in the distance—  
and there 

in that moment the sky seemed 
startled as it split open 

with flock after flock 
of cranes flying in formation 

gliding out of broken clouds 
circling the marshes before cupping 

their massive wings into parachutes 
to drop to the grasses 

where they remained 
for some time in the chorus 

of their calls until launching 
forth again 

wave after wave
a short rise then fall 

beyond a tall
wall of trees

off limits to us in the final moments 
before dusk fell fully into night  

never did I witness 
their morning ritual

with dawn casting its 
eerie glow over 

the wooded plains 
but somehow 

i still see
10,000 birds rise with the mist 

and pummel the air
into concussed sound

amidst the glorious cacophony 
of their haunting calls 

as they swarm through an atmosphere
now teeming with a glimpse 

of what Earth 
once was   


and may still be

    in the deep 




Apache Peak in June

arriving near the basin
of the cirque’s bowl

at dawn
peaks and spires

and massive juts
of jagged black rock

the stillness of snow
gushing all around

as if the lower jaw
of a sea dragon

just broke
the surface

the froth seething
among those pointed peaks

even so—

at 13,000 feet

in the middle
of a snow couloir

by the crunch

of ice axe

and trochaic

a lady bug—

a lady bug

a little soul
poised on prismatic ice

before a tarsal claw
clamped another crystal

and another
as if waiting

for a thermal updraft
to parachute

into the vault