Sound a Mountain Makes
Patricia Belote

Sound a Mountain Makes

Needles Highway, South Dakota

Beguiling death drop
to the east. The pull is real
and omnipresent. On the other side,
my western hand could touch
angels if I let go, glancing
across the rock face.
Margin of error so very close,
resolve alone holds
fast the wheel on this narrow,
high, and twisted road.

Still, siren calls from either side
entice me to look away, stray   
from the road in front, follow
the granite spires. Cathedral pines.
Thin sky. The pull is real.
Forget clearance four feet each side,
tunnels black. Blow the horn,
then look nowhere but ahead.
Abandon every dread.

At any vista, stop. And listen.
Hear the sound a mountain makes
where rock remembers blasting.
Metamorphic murmurs
keep silence in abeyance.
Periphery and prayer—
these graces
keep me fastened here.

Patricia Belote

is the author of the poetry chapbook Traveling Light (Finishing Line Press). Her recent poems have appeared in The Healing Muse, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Saw Palm: Florida Literature and ArtMeridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and elsewhere.