For an Earth-Landing

the sky sinks its blue teeth
Into the mountains.

Rising on pure will

(the lurch & lift-off,
The sudden swing
Into wide, white snow),

I encourage the cable.

Past the wind
& crossed tips of my skis
& the mauve shadows of pines
& the spoor of bears
& deer,

I speak to my fear,

Rising, riding,
Finding myself

The only thing
Between snow & sky,

The link
That holds it all together.

Halfway up the wire,
We stop,
Slide back a little
(a whirr of pulleys).

Astronauts circle above us today
In the television blue of space.

But the thin withers of alps
Are waiting to take us too,
& this might be the moon!

We move!

Friends, this is a toy
Merely for reaching mountains

For skiing down.

& now we’re dangling
Like charms on the same bracelet

Or upsidedown tightrope people
(a colossal circus!)

Or absurd winged walkers,
Angels in animal fur,

With mittened hands waving
& fear turning

& the mountain
Like a fisherman,

Reeling us all in.

So we land
On the windy peak,
Touch skis to snow,
Are married to our purple shadows,
& ski back down
To the unimaginable valley

Leaving no footprints.

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For an Earth-Landing