the mountain, in g major
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 so tired. when this place, demonstrably superior to every place I’ve been before, is still made small 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, then, 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 https://thepresenttenser.wordpress.com.