Canberra, Capital Territory, Australia
Crossing the plateau in the sunset, woollen gloves on the poles. Where was I going? Was it misty? Squish of snow and the freedom of langlauf, long-loafing, long-loping. Alone, that stride, that glide! Smell of the snow, frigid. Smell of zinc cream on my face. Did I pause on the edge, look out into misty valleys?
above raven's caw . . .
just the fog . . .
the chatter of mind
beat of my heart
Canvas gloves on a string. Hillary and Mallory wore them in old photos. So did I. Starting before dawn, fumbling, head torches. Crunch of crampons, clunk of scree, relief of rock. In the belly—anticipation, yearning! Moving slowly upwards towards sunrise, goggles, taste of mint cake. Who was I with? Who else remembers?
from the northwest
pass over the ranges—
my seventieth year
Note: The tanka 'bitter wind' was first published in Magnapoets 9 (2012).