how i began 28

no one wants to read poetry
about sleeping during a long drive
through winding mountain roads

waking up to dawn breaking
over snowcapped mountains
far across arid lands

making coffee on a dusty
picnic table to warm
freezing fingers

gravelly roads that lead
to piles of volcanic rocks
spit up from long ago

we grated our fingertips
for hours until exhaustion
and hunger forced us out

and we did that over and over
again for not enough days
and i thought of poetry

but i did not write it down
because i was busy tending fires
and sipping whiskey

and i don’t know how to
write poetry about why
it feels so good to climb

even when there is work to
be done and forms to fill
and bills to pay

even when i will return to
the world where i must change
out of my dust-caked clothes

even when the news
spills over with
overwhelming tragedy

for a few days
i let there be nothing but climbing
and it felt right.