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.

Qomolangma

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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