by Martha Silano
When the contours of mountains resemble coliseums.
Cathedrality of mountains.
Relief of roadlessness.
That there are lakes impossible to reach by car.
That from this window just behind the wing, 20F,
there are no signs of life.
Once I packed a bag with cheddar goldfish.
Once my son threw up before we even boarded the plane.
Cracks and fissures, cuneiform of rock. Backbones and capillaries,
the snaking green edged with bluffs (long-ago ocean?).
He will turn eighteen next week.
Brain-like contours—cerebral cortex or cerebellum?
Contours thin like the veins of leaves, fronds of a sword fern, feet of a coot.
Time passed like a silent rail in the reeds.
The folds very Egyptian, mummies reposed in their tombs.
Like an alligator’s enormous tail, though lacking snout and teeth.
Once I sang La crocodile il est malade, il est malade a Singapour.
All those years, I thought I was singing sangue a peu—a little blood.
Clouds less cumulus, more cumulonimbus.
Towns scattered with houses like paint chips.
From the ground he would wave to the passengers in the sky: Bye-bye, babies!
Claw-like hills, afghan of cloud not like fresh snow but snow a few days old,
the occasional indentation where a foot or tire met asphalt.
The crocodile is sick. A little mercy, a little blood.
Between fluffy swirls, black holes.
When the binky and the sippy cup.
When the diaper bag and the teething ring.
Cottoned from above
like first tracks on Lynx Pass,
a pristine path through aspen, lodgepole, spruce.