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The Mountain

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                     The Mountain
 
She stands at the edge of an abyss,
casually looking down:
Cancer.
The word rings through the canyons,
Careening off
The frozen edges of her heart.
Cancer.
She cries.
 
For six weeks she has toiled up the mountain
Six weeks
Since finding a lump in her breast
Six weeks
Of trudging one foot in front of the other
Six weeks
Of trying to hear the birds and see the
grass and smell the flowers and
touch the trees
In the valley where she once lived,
In the valley which was her home
Until hellfires burned around her.
 
She refuses to see the devastation.
She only looks up, past the jagged peaks
To the apex of the mountain:
I will be healthy there.
Her faith is in the climb,
Her heart is in the future.
She is the blessed child;
The universe protects her.
She will reach the top of the mountain
And fly with angels, as she has
always done.
 
Suddenly she is at the summit;
The wait is over
But instead of a beautiful panorama
The view is shrouded by icy winds
Kicking up dust storms
Of ugly words she does not want to hear.
The altitude is too thin,
She is afraid she will pass out and stumble
Into crevices filled with broken lives.
She clutches her arms around her,
Trying to hide the scars on her breast
From the taunting mountains surrounding her.
Fly, child, a voice whispers.
It is what you came up here to do.
 
She pleads:
I am afraid, Mother.
I cannot see the valley below me;
The trees are covered by smoke.
The flowers have burned to ash
And my birds could not make it this high.
I am afraid:
I no longer have a sense of direction
And if I crash
I may not have the strength
To rise up again.
The voice whispers slowly,
Fly, child.
It is what you do the best.
 
She stands at the edge of an abyss,
cautiously looking down:
Cancer.
The word rings through the canyons,
Careening off
The frozen edges of her heart.
Cancer.
She cries again.
 
Slowly
She unfolds her wings
And a not-so-gentle breeze catches her
And lurches her
To a destiny beyond her vision
And places outside her dreams.

1998 Meredith Karen Laskow

 

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