Sizzling strokes of heat still steam
over standing stones at summer’s dusk.
They undulate against the background
of a merciful darkness now graciously
descending to cool the scorched earth
and sooth my own hot heart, ablaze
with the rapture of flame-lit peaks,
simmering into sunset’s echo.
Tenderly, the night retrieves its silence –
one by one, the surrendering sounds
of another done day drop away.
Just so, the mind that clings to nothing
can resume its natural disposition.
Night on the mountain
looms vast in the settling shadows,
host to a memory moistened with tears —
desolation’s wan secret — while in the forest
a commotion of two contesting animals
is cut short in a sudden sharp cry.
In the morning, perhaps I’ll find some trace
of shining bone, or the stain of dark blood
smeared hot on a still-cooling stone.
Whatever the case,
here’s the truth of this place:
nobody gets out alive.