Day 7: into thin air

I am a fan of documentaries, and one of the most engrossing docs that I have watched in recent memory is Everest: Beyond the Limits. Climbing Mount Everest is a daunting physical feat, and one that even those who train for it often don’t truly believe could kill them. I don’t know why I was thinking about this today, but here it is. I’m not sure what it is quite yet, and I know it is far from finished, but much like climbing the big mountain, I at least have reached base camp.


Unstable at the steepest points,

squeezed and weaving toward ruin.

Questions shrink and slide into

the deepest holes, small coins snaking

through the bowels of a machine

dispensing fortunes in a language

we do not understand. Layered

against the wind, distances mislead –

mirages of sleep and snow, our shoulders

hunched with envy at descending

climbers, the air a robbery of breath.


Darkness finally stays our footsteps,

and we tent like cowards against the cold.

Tomorrow, dears, tomorrow – the summit

whispers, each swallow a grimace,

each grasp at sleep a faint. Long before

the sun drapes its chiffon, we flog

our wasted limbs to the top, prayer flags

flapping welcome, our bodies hunkering

together for a brief moment of awe. Trying

to rise, instead we learn that we are

heaviest at the top of the world.


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