the mountain, in g major

the mountain, in g major
Margarita Tenser

everything hurts and is beautiful. John, you made it seem
		like all I had to do 
		was make it through the year
but year has stacked on year and I’ve come to this place
at the top of the hill, 
		with my dusty shoes and my aching calves,
where I can see the next rise, 
			and the next,
the mountain pushing up 
			and up 
			and up
and up into the fog, so it can’t promise me a peak, 
a destination or a glimpse 
		of sky. 

and still it’s lovely! look how crisp the air is,
what fine companions 
		I have somehow drawn
into my camp! some days I’m overtaken 
		by the pattern of the stones, 
the neat yet complex way 
		that morphemes slot together,
my own inability to comprehend 
		the math of fluid dynamics
and how gracefully the water merges with itself regardless,
by the sweetness of a pun or 
		          punchline and the line
of ink drawn carefully across a page or collarbone,
and always, always, by the sweetness of that rush,
that blooming of affection 
		across millimetres or kilometres,
the one I’m cautiously beginning to accept belongs here.

but I am
   tired. when this place, demonstrably superior
to every place I’ve been before,
	is still 
by all the looming cliffsides of the life to come,
when weary shoulders, underneath a much-diminished load,
still plead with me to just lie down and let the snow 
	fall where it will
until the world 
	reduces to a soft, warm blur of white
what can I tell myself, 
			is enough? when can I rest?

no answer from the mountain, nor the stream 
					or forest
					nor a single solitary song. 
	all I can do is turn my face 
	toward the sun, adjust my backpack on my shoulders 
and put one foot in front of the other, one foot
		in front of the other, one foot in front
		of the other, and John, 
I’m going to make it through every goddamn year until it kills me.


Margarita Tenser lives in Sydney with a life partner, housemates, madness and so far one cat. Eir poetry has been published in venues like Strange Horizons, Meniscus, Voiceworks and Stone Telling, ey hasn’t given up hope on a novel, and ey blogs at