by Alan Keitt

Rock gully, on the naked flank of the hill
watching over the flood plain
of a once writhing river.
Opened vein, riven by rain racing to the sea.
While below, the big dam catches silt,
spilt from myriad defiles,
turned inside out for want of beaver's skill.

A concatenation of boulders lean together in jumbled disarray,
laid down during the administration of the last glacier,
the mother of all public works projects,
to create our personal petrified playground.

Moldering leaves, musty moss, spiders come here to die.
Rocky cups hold brown leaf tea left by unseen denizens.
On the rim tottering trunks, roots desperate for dirt
gaze north at the surprised stumps of drowned trees.
The sun is a casual visitor here.

Billy and I are mountain goats.
Here it is that we learned to frisk,
risking life and limb with endless capers and caprioles
too dangerous for an ordinary mother to endure.

Would the round rock roll or the flat rock flip?
Would the moss mats hold our flashing feet
as we joined in joyous caprid cataract?
Only the inner goat knew and he was not afraid.

For he loved this shabby realm,
seeing there not a defilement,
but a buried treasure
of pristine pinnacles,
perfectly fit for a kid.
Nature's wild compass rose
imprinted forever on the
charts of childhood remembrance.

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