Catskills Retreat by Kamilah Aisha Moon

On a mountain all moonglow
toad moan and green majesty,
I’ve come (since it wouldn’t come to me)
to make peace at the foot of heaven,
haul it home somehow. The steepness
of my soul overwhelms housed
in this bear of a body.
Prophets prove that mountains midwife
great reckoning; the heart’s
red psalms in concert
with the hummingbird’s whirring,
thoughts linger awhile, embraced
by the naked mind. God-flecked
cypress and pine, I can’t stand tall
with you—knees too burdened
to hike trails and dash meadows,
I am fat with failure and promise—
a pile of damp timber just before sunrise.
I take cool, high-altitude breaths
and recall other heights, gaze
at humbling shoulders of earth
brushing up against brazen blue—
channel a lily pad lightness upon
woman-made depths to face matters
long past skimming.
As fingers press prayers into
crumbling quartz, bless
my fellow travelers and the blades
of grass forgiving our steps, springing
back up. Bless the beaver beginning
again and again, the monarch’s
meandering flight. Bless these mosquitoes
and their insatiable thirst, the bluejays
at dawn trilling you are not through

Kamilah Aisha Moon’s work has been featured in Harvard Review, jubilat, The Awl, Poem-A-Day for the Academy of American Poets, The Oxford American, Villanelles and Gathering Ground. A Pushcart Prize winner and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Audre Lorde Award from the Publishing Triangle, Moon is the author of She Has a Name (Four Way Books) and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.