Poetry - Issue 15 | June 2012

Talus

by Claire


Talus

In the story Katherine tells, she’s lied
to a boy she loves, and he’s too young and smitten
to have doubts about her hiking skills. 
When she trips and falls three hundred feet
onto the talus, head gashed, ankle broken,
death assumes a face. 

Her boyfriend runs for help. 

Struggling between despair and calm,
she listens to the warm buzz of insects.
The scent of juniper swells in the sun.
As death leans over her, resistance worms back
through her bones, entering her spine.

Now her memory is my memory
as if I were the fallen one, exposed to the sun,
to ravens cruising the canyons. 
Her boyfriend would return, wouldn’t he?

I remember hurtling down the hill
on my bike, hitting a car broadside and flying over the top.
I never felt so fully alive, so fully Claire
and no one else, if only for a moment
voyaging outside of life, a witness to its wonder.

In the Sangre de Cristos, Katherine and I
scramble over an old avalanche of rocks, game
for a morning hike, our memories flung out
and catching.


About the author

Claire Keyes traveled around the world when it was a lot cheaper and safer. She has published two books of poems and her work can be found at Rattle, Tattoo highway, and Umbrella, among others.

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