Photo of You Disappearing -- Elizabeth Spires
Mount Charleston, Nevada
Seven years ago, you stood at the top of a mountain,
solitary in the snow. In faded jeans and a windbreaker,
you smiled, or tried to smile, as a friend snapped a photo.
You had gotten the news a month before, a clouded X-ray,
then a scan, and now behind you (or ahead?) a range
of snow-covered mountains, pine trees pointing up toward
frail wisps of cloud, the sky blue cobalt bleeding into black.
Are ends like beginnings? At your service,
the minister said, She fixed her eyes upon that shining shore.
If I climbed the mountain, would I find the trail you took?
Would your footsteps lead me to a pass that opens west,
always west, where you went on alone, no turning back?
I stare at the picture that tells me everything and nothing.
You are smiling. The air is perfectly clear.