In chill November, stoutly, you and I,
bent-backed and booted, turned into the wind.
Sinking in the slow, red mud, we walked.
I tracked your giant steps
heard in their clink and tumbling crush,
the singing of the stones
saw rocks like teeth in the sea’s stark mouth
slow drawn by time’s far edge
and cockle shells, bleached pale
as death, spill secrets in dark sands.
But then we found our progress barred.
Across some river’s tiny roar
you taught me how the faulted earth
might fall in stern and folded crags
and how it still might quake and split
to break the breaking, bounded shore.
There tigers prowled, their bloodstone eyes
as abstract as their welted stripes
and monsters moved among the stones,
stirred up the bones of the tasty dead.
And so we crossed the Alps to find
a land of snakes and stars.
A single tree still rooted
kept its vigil by the shore.