Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Sisters

Change overcame me in the Cascade Range.
The McKenzie-Bend Highway runs west from Deschutes,
along Three Sisters,
into the Santiam shadow of Three Fingered Jack,
and the glacier lying like a coin in his palm.

I drove all day under the eyes of that family
as they held up the sky,
swerving past a chattered and volcanic shoulder

and phoning in from some
wayside wide spot to ask the way,
likely way late getting to a party,
just to sleep on the floor,
worn, story-filled, travel-famished.

When my sister died
it was like a minaret had fallen,
like one of the pillars that hold up heaven had fallen.

Heaven didn’t fall,
but the slopes and peaks are more delicate,
as though one must walk barefoot across
the great floor of the earth,
under a ceiling that seems at times to tip.

Teardrop Pool on South Sister
fills with spring snowmelt.
When called to pray,
I turn to the center of the world.