We climbed straight up for almost an hour, then the pathway split in two:
One a long, meandering trail that wound around the summit
Dotted by cactus, mainly cholla and pink barrel,
The other a short but brutal ascent,
Jacob’s ladder to the heavens.
I sat upon a rock, still holding its chill from the December desert night.
My heart began to slow, chest returning to its normal rise and fall
As I pulled prickly burrs off my shoelace loops,
Fingernails grasping careful to the spines,
Moving with surgical precision.
You gulped down water til your lips were red and wet, eyes closed against the sun.
But your feet were not made for resting or taking in the view,
So I nodded my assent and watched you scamper on
Moving toward the top like a mountain goat kid
Hyper, happy, and heedless too.
When you were barely more than a blur of motion among boulders and gray shale,
I rose up to start my own climb in slow and measured steps.
The incline grew sharp, no angle here of sweet repose.
Leaning into the mountain, I pulled myself along
Like a wary, jointed crab.
Atop Sunrise Peak, I found you standing proud, feet planted wide against the wind.
We reunited, standing hip to hip, and faced the city spread below.
You pointed out main roads and distant downtown buildings
Until we both grew silent, looking vainly
For the speck that was our house.
Sarette Danae hails from Seattle. Her poetry has been featured in publications worldwide, including a recent issue of Ethel which is displayed at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library as part of their collection of women-created zines. When not writing, Sarette can be found hiking with her husband and two dogs.