When I brought her out to the place after Father died,

months after we put her in a home

she went to the window, where I had opened the drapes;

she spread her arms up to the light, saying

Oh, the mountains.


There they were rocking

in a sea of veiled lavender twilight

striations of crimson clouds, contrails

and geese arrowing off toward Medicine Bow.

So it was that she could have remembered light

when she lay dying.


I go down the stairs with trepidation,

dragging my broken leg in its brace,

the leg that will not heal,

now like a question mark made of iron,


I am like a bear pulling loose from a tree,

bringing the stump with me

To the softness of afternoon, the mare I slipped from

grazing on emerald grass

Never Summer mountains in the distance


At my back, the dark circle of rooms where I have felt safe

the redolent bedroom with lace curtains,

Brahms in the dark,

dolls with upturned faces

in damask bonnets,

a candle beneath a cross


My heart breaks when I think of it

so long in a prison of fear

a cave devoid of angels

Where is the true break, the real fracture:

I caress the face I see in the mirror

and anoint it with cold water.