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One Winter Was Hot on the Mountain

May 9, 2012

One winter was hot on the mountain. Icy
water burst from its stones, the woods
combusted into buds before their time,
green pillowed up from the snow, and high

up, past the trees, the heat unburied
a monster, feigning a man, asleep: eyes
like clams, mouth open, drinking sunlight.
I tempted it with my stick, fingered its gums

and brown teeth to make it bite. But
it lay there, content as a king. I would have
tried more, but it kept beneath the black
ice but for one long orange arm, the skin

cancerous as an old book printed with monster
longings in blueblack paint. I packed
stones into its mouth; still it lay there,
its one hand grabbing nothing, no one,

just something lost now. I would have cabled
it free, but it was sealed in the mountain, and
when the pall plunged upon us, I went home.
That night came a grizzle of polar cold and

snow and ice and, when I went back, it was
gone. That one, at least, will breed no more,
its populations swallowed in stone and ice,
crushed with dinosaurs, its comments kept.

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