In the gully bides a lulling still. It slackens the knot in the leader’s chest, loosens the strands and tunes them for ascent: chords of creaking névé and feathering rime, lost arrows singing. There’s a longing for that spindrift rasp on exposed skin, a good northerly scouring. Eddying in the creases of runnels and ribs, gusts hurl from the plateau a slow swirling of crystalline winter. The authenticity of an elemental embrace, a distillation of joy in the torment waiting.
Squall’s lull lilts
a lullaby of wilting flakes
on your thin hand’s fluted back,
the tendons the ridges of ice arêtes
or verglassed clefts
that converge on
a wrist of snow
to a frosted lochan.
We are the blacksmiths,
forging routes on your anvil back,
hammering aspirations achieved at last,
quenching a dream cast
in your shadow.
We’re seamsters, too,
blunting our needles to thread your own.
Along your spine, we weave our ropes,
between precipitous sandstone vertebrae,
sewing and unsewing our parties
into your landscape.
She turns tail at the taste of her first days, muscles through the vastness and finds the old ways, the passage of her forbears. She seeks without knowledge the tributary of her hatching; writhing, leaping, she urges herself closer, each leap a pummelling, each writhe a depletion.
She breathes brackish gill-fulls, fuels her attrition, till the flows ease and the waters freshen. She scatters gravel with rapid tail beats, excavates her redd, spawns her journey’s completion.