PoetryIssue 15 | June 2012

Talus

by Claire Keyes

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.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok