Exploring the Mountain Range – Martin Willitts, Jr.

Writing in a notebook between the arch
of night and yellowing morning,
the mass of unreal mountains
are hazed and wavering with clouds
on their shoulder, white-grey as my hair.
I barely hear the cloud-movement,
vacillating, dazed, whispering footsteps.

My wife’s naked landscape stretched,
hair spread-out among daisies and foxglove.

A fresh spring stream, some patches of snow
skipped by sun in the hollowed out places
behind rock-shade —

some say, these heights are familiar; some say
they are moonlight illusions,
an invisible compass into a lover’s arms,
being welcomed, clouds of wildflowers raining.

After removing cold touch of snow,
a purple crocus  is a bruised heart.

I have arrived at this point
through meadows of light,
found this untouched place,
this geography of love,
opening the snow to see tuffs of grass,
flowering grape-colored bulbs,
waiting desperately to be found.

The mountain spoke to me
with my wife’s voice, moaning.

All secrets are not apparitions.
Although distance distorts height,
mountains are never the same as relief maps.
Their flanks are straight-up discovery.
When ascending, it seems lonelier going up.

I have been where the snow remains all year.
I have seen snow run-off
like sweat while making love.
I have been close enough to an eagle’s nest
to count the eggs and be driven off by diving talons.
I have had my feet fighting with a rock slide.
Now, my mountain climbing days are over,
but not my intense urge
to know every inch of my wife’s love.

Msrtin Willitts JrMartin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY. He is the winner of 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 11 full-length collections including How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press, 2016). His forthcoming books include Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed (FutureCycle Press); Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Press); and the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press).