freelance writer, photographer and guide


A Day to Die



When he leaves the hands of heaven

will they cry, hold vigil like we do

when one of us leaves earth?

Will they console one another with promises

of a better place for him?

Do they even know where he is going

or have they just heard about the light

at the end of the birth canal?


I'm sure they will miss him.

Living or non-living

without someone you love has to be hard

no matter where you are,

especially if you're not sending them

to that 'better place'.


Is that finally-at-peace line used there

as the child makes the exchange to

where he must learn to live despite life?

In all the near-death experience tales

no one talks about a swift slap to the rear-end

to start your breathing. Perhaps

that is only a local custom, a foreshadowing

of what we have entered.


In my pain I will cry out,

matching a different voice to those he leaves

but the moment of exchange will pass

he will be here and I will whisper for them,

"I have him now, he is in my arms

and this is a very good place."

If they had not expelled themselves from Eden,

today would be just another ethereal day

in the garden of light.

Another day of wholeness, unification.


But Eve, scared as she was, took death in her teeth,

split the world in two,

took the sudden breath of separateness

from man, from God, the duality of good and evil.


So much in a bite.


Perhaps she sat with this loss like a pebble in her mouth,

shifting it from side to side,

trying not to swallow it, be swallowed by it.

Sitting among wispy dead grasses, cold rock slabs,


planting a son back into the dust.

Do you suppose she ever rolled the pebble

off her tongue, let it fall back to earth?

Tetons, Jackson, Wyoming

Sometimes it's just the smell


even the pummel of a hundred hooves

through a dark, marinated in moon

is not as powerful


even their hulking shapes

shadows lunging in flight

close enough to feel

their passing in the air

is not more,


and that quickly

they are gone, like a dream.


I take deep breaths

try to keep them close

like children I don't want to lose.


I stare hard after them

through a night only the mountains

can hold, knowing tomorrow

it will be difficult

to remember raw elk,

and the smell of their sweat.